COSMO, The Winning Design for the 2015 Young Architects Program
Every year, the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 host the Young Architects Program, an annual competition that gives emerging architects the opportunity to build projects conceived for MoMA PS1’s courtyard. The 2015 winner, Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation, has designed a movable structure which will purify 3,000 gallons of water, causing its stretched-out plastic mesh to glow. The project, titled COSMO, opens later this month and will serve as a backdrop for MoMA PS1’s popular music concert series, Warm Up.
Established in 2000, the YAP was designed to solidify the affiliation between The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1. The architects follow a program with a tight budget, and are asked to make the best use of the pre-existing space and available materials. Previous winners include SHoP, who won the first-ever YAP contest and went on to design the Barclays Arena. In 2000, the then-emerging firm designed an outdoor environment called Dunescape, where visitors could lounge, socialize, sunbathe, wade in shallow pools, and cool off. Lifeguard stands doubled as performance stages, and the structure provided plenty of shade from the summer sun. While SHoP was already up-and-coming when it won the YAP contest, many former finalists credit YAP for launching their careers, as the program provides room for experimentation along with visibility in New York City.
Last year’s winning design was built from 100% organic material and had a near-zero carbon footprint, and was likely the start of a trend in eco-friendly design for YAP projects. This year’s challenge was to provide a water feature for leisure and fun. Many of the proposals continued in the environmentally-conscious tradition. One of the finalists, Roof Deck would have repurposed waste from other buildings and redirected wastewater into a collection and retention system. Gels, another finalist, planned to use water to sprout wheatgrass and wildflowers, and then to compost parts of the project at the end of the summer.
Winning architect Andrés Jaque was inspired by a statistic put forth by the United Nations, which cites that by 2025 two thirds of the global population will live in countries that lack sufficient water. Jaque answers this statistic by providing an artifact which will raise awareness, but can also be easily reproduced all around the world, giving people access to drinking water. COSMO is engineered to filter and purify 3,000 gallons of water over a four-day cycle, eliminating suspended particles and nitrates, balancing the pH, and increasing the level of dissolved oxygen. Aside from creating clean water, COSMO creates a visually stunning disco-ball effect which will perfectly complement the musical performances it will accompany this summer.
An exhibition of the five YAP finalists’ proposed projects will be on view at MoMA over the summer – the other four finalists are brillhart architecture (Drones’ Beach), Erin Besler (Roof Deck), The Bittertang Farm (Gels), and Studio Benjamin Dillenburger (Phenomena). Visitors will be able to see the plans for brillhart architecture’s escapist beach-themed installation, Studio Benjamin Dillenburger’s exploration of digital design, and the proposals for Roof Deck, Gels, and COSMO. The exhibition will run from June 24 to September 5, and admission to the museum is $25 for adults. You can find more information on ticketing and hours on the MoMA website.