WE ARE LIVE. The pavilion has officially been living on Governors Island for one week and it is even better than we imagined. Thank you for making it possible. Come out and see it! It's next to Castle Williams on the north shore of Governors Island. Here's a map:
Ferries to Governors Island run from from Manhattan at the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street next to the Staten Island Ferry and from Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6. The ferries are free running weekdays from 10am to 6pm and weekends from 10am to 7pm. Ferry schedule is here: https://govisland.com/info/ferry
Now that we can sit back, put our feet up, and watch the clay crack, it is easy to say that we handled all obstacles with effortless poise. But the week leading up to the opening day was certainly a bit hectic. Here’s how it all went down:
Our first step on the site was to stake out the location of the pavilion on the site. Once we had it laid out to ensure the perfect views of the city through the lattice, we started digging. And by digging I mean hacking through plastic ground-stabilizing geocells with a pick-axe to be able to peel away pieces of sod.
The sod took a big team effort to peel up:
Even though it looks flat, the site actually slopes down about 10 inches. Getting it level was crucial for our structure and for our trays of sopping wet clay.
First to arrive on site (after being held up for a few hours due to an island power outage), was the wood for the clay trays. We carefully flattened the gravel below the sod with the plywood then laid out the clay trays at about a 2 degree slope. We might have made the entire project level but we were limited to a maximum 6" of excavation on the Island. Below that depth there is the chance of unexploded ordinance! So, we worked carefully within that constraint. The angle of the slope is almost imperceptible but it actually helps the clay trays drain - a good thing.
Next got the plywooed clay trays fully seal, connected and the rails attached! The rails on site are almost exactly the same as the ones we used to dry and crack clay when we were casting panels. The overall idea: show the process of making the project (cracked clay as mold) in the project itself.
Next, the panels arrived. They are surprisingly light and pretty easy to move.
Finally, the steel frame arrived and with all the parts in place, a big team assembled to put it all together.
The pavilion quickly came together as we lifted panels in to the frame and screwed them in.
The last pieces to put in were on the roof. LIfting them in was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle but we made it work.
We finished by laying out clay in small chunks in the trays then saturating them. This let us transfer clay from Grounds for Sculpture without water (much lighter!) . It also tends to crack faster.
WIth the pavilion installed and the clay wet and screeded, we replaced the sod under the pavilion (we saved about 100 sf of sod for this) and...we went live!
The FIGMENT festival happened all around it and on it. Many photos were taken.
And people made their marks in the wet clay. Who could resist? To be honest, we want this to be a kind of Zen garden - a scape of cracked clay. But releasing control during the festival was a relief - we let people start to draw and, at that moment, the pavilion really became a part of FIGMENT. In the coming weeks, we'll work on making the clay clean and cracked. But for now, FIGMENT has left its marks.
But the life of the pavilion has really just begun. The second day of FIGMENT, the clay started to crack and, with that, the project is becoming what we imagined.
Come out and see the pavilion! It's up all summer until August 27th.