FIGMENT ARTS ORGANIZATION, AIANY ENYA, and SEAoNY asked New York: "What would an art pavilion on Governor's Island, made out of recycled materials and based around the idea of "The City of Dreams" look like to you?"
We said, "A big cloud you can occupy, made out of recycled water bottles; a place to dream, in 'the city of dreams' "
They said, "you're the winner, let's build it!"
A couple of months ago, we entered into the "City of Dreams Competition", sponsored by the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY), the committee for Emerging New York Architects (ENYA), the Structural Engineers Association (SEAoNY) and the not-for-profit Arts Organization, FIGMENT. The competition asked architects and designers to design an art pavilion around the idea of "The City of Dreams" that would be the centerpiece for FIGMENT's totally free, totally awesome, annual arts event on Governor's Island in New York City. They said that the pavilion proposal had to be made from recycled or recyclable materials, be able to be constructed off site, then be broken down into components that could fit on a NYC water taxi, and re-assembled by a group of volunteers on the island.
Out of the 200 designers who submitted proposals, we were selected to design and build our proposal on Governor's Island this summer!
Who are "we"?
We are Studio Klimoski Chang Architects, or STUDIOKCA.
STUDIOKCA is the combination of Jason Klimoski's Lighting Studio, and Lesley Chang's Architecture office, into one office/workshop based in Brooklyn, NY. We're a small team of designers and architects, interested in the parallels between making lights and building spaces. Our practice explores how light and materials tell a story, shape an experience, and create a sense of place. We spent many years working for other designers and architects, including Ingo Maurer, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Steven Holl, until we decided to pursue our own projects, dreams, and the causes we truly believe in. So far, we've worked on several homes, hotels, and stores together, but this is our first, not-for-profit public art proposal, and we're really excited!!
What is this "Head in the Clouds Pavilion"
The Head in the Clouds Pavilion is a 40'x18'x15' cloud shaped structure, constructed from aluminum, wood, and 53,780 recycled plastic bottles- the number of plastic bottles thrown away in New York City in just 1 hour. The pavilion will house an area for seating, and a stage for several planned events on the island this summer. It will also serve as the gathering point for the nearly 200,000 visitors who will come to this year's arts events on Governor's Island.
We chose water bottles as the main re-purposed product, in order to call attention to the nearly 48,000,000 plastic bottles thrown away every day in the United States. The pavilion is sized so that it will represent the number of plastic bottles thrown away in NYC in just 1 hour!
The main material in the cloud is recycled 16oz, 24oz, and 1 gallon used water bottles, collected and donated from generous businesses and organizations from all over the city. This means, between the water bottles that make up the blue interior and the jugs that are tied together to create the “pillowy” exterior, there are 53,780 plastic bottles used in the construction of the Pavilion. In addition to the water bottles, the pavilion uses a system of curved aluminum tubes, fitted together with a splines and clamps, layered on the inside with the collected water bottles (filled with a small amount of organic food coloring), and covered on the outside with what we’re calling the “pillows”, which are basically 1 gallon water jugs woven with netting and tied to the frame. When complete, the Head in the Clouds Pavilion, will be approximately 40’ long, 18’ feet wide, and 15’ high at its highest peak. Visitors will be able to sit inside the cloud, and contemplate the shifting light as it filters through the layers of bottles. There’s also a small stage built into the foot that will allow performances to take place inside the cloud.
Where we are in the process
We've developed a structural scheme and fabrication process we believe will work.
We've already collected nearly half of the donated bottles we need for the pavilion, so that only leaves 12,182 small bottles: 9,853 Large 1 gallon jugs left to collect, YIKES!!
AND we've built a 15'x12' full scale mockup in the workshop, to test the idea and make sure it will work. It was a success!! Below are images of that process.
This mockup took a week to build with 4 of us working together to figure out the kinks. The final build will take roughly 1,200 hours of labor to construct- that's 20 people working steadily for about 1.5 weeks, or 4 people working 2 months. If we have the funding (and volunteers) we hope to begin production on the aluminum frame and connections at the end of march, and begin building the exterior pillows and interior blue panels in April, to be ready for transport and set up the last weekend in May.
Because FIGMENT is a not-for profit arts organization, all of their money comes from donations and fundraising efforts like this one. They've been able to raise a portion of the cost for the materials not being collected or donated, but they still need help to raise the rest of the money to buy the materials and machine time necessary to create the rest of the pavilion’s structural components. As a start-up indie studio, we have been working on the project on our own time and struggling with all the costs. We are reaching out to the Kickstarter community for help in raising those funds so we can build this project and complete it in time for the summer. We're passionate about the project and we need your support to help make this pavilion a reality!
Our office and an army of volunteers have been collecting used bottles on a daily basis from lots of great and generous organizations and companies in and around NYC, but there are other materials that we can't collect, and we need help paying for, for example the machine time necessary to mill these pieces into the right shape. Below is a breakdown:
Non-Donated Materials: Aluminum tubes, modified sleeve connectors, spline connectors, netting, rope, cable ties, wood Cost: $10,000
Machine Time: Aluminum bending, customizing brackets, mill curved wood platform, mill platform connections, create frame connections Cost: $3,000
Donated Materials: 16 oz. Bottles, 1 gallon water jugs= 53,780 used bottles and jugs total Cost: Free
We have cooked up a number of rewards to thank you for your generous support in helping us, help FIGMENT realize the Head in the Clouds Pavilion! Here are some of them:
The Button: a custom Head in the Clouds Botton of the original napkin sketch of the design, printed on 100% recycled paper! (approximately 2" in diameter)
The Bottle Fan Fan (for bottle fans!): For the ultimate fan of the Pavilion, cool yourself this summer on Governor's Island with this limited edition, hand made, hand-held fan made out of one of the bottles collected to create the Pavilion! Squeeze and power a little rotating fan, super "cool"! (approximately 12" high, 2.5" wide)
The (limited edition, signed) Poster: a numbered, limited edition Head in the Clouds Poster of the built Pavilion, signed by the design team, printed on 100% recycled paper! (approximately 12" high, 18" wide)
The reusable Water Bottle: a reusable Head in the Clouds Water Bottle, with a replaceable carbon filter, made of recycled materials. Refill and reuse this water bottle over and over again this summer on Governor's Island! (approximate 9" high, 3" wide)
The Tote Bag: a custom Head in the Clouds Tote Bag, made of 100% certified organic cotton, with an original napkin sketch of the design! (approximately 13" wide, 15" high, 7" deep)
The Boggle Goggles: a limited edition, handmade Head in the Clouds Goggles. Summer on Governor’s Island won’t be complete without your very own Head in the clouds goggles to dream the city of dreams! You will be able to move through time and space with these (you already are...)!
The Head in the Clouds Helmet (you're not crazy- YOU ARE THE COOLEST PERSON IN THE WORLD- or at least one of the 2 coolest people in the world...) Can't wait to have your "Head in the Clouds" this summer? It is your lucky day! We will build you your own personal cloud for your own personal head! Limited edition, handmade in our shop, the Helmut is made from the same materials as the real thing--only smaller, lighter, and with built-in suspension! (approximately SIZE)
The "Little Light Cloud™" Table Lamp: Every cloud has a silver lining- EVEN THIS ONE...a limited edition, custom designed table lamp, shaped like a cloud, powered by low voltage LEDs, transported to your home. Its a wonderful addition to your side table or desk, providing endless summer enlightenment! (approximately 12" long, 8" wide, 7" high)
The "EveryCloud™" Chandelier: It's the same concept as the Little Light Cloud Table Lamp we developed ONLY BIGGER and BETTER! A limited edition, handmade chandelier, made with recycled materials, shaped like a cloud, covered in soft fabric, lined with silver leaf on the interior, powered by low voltage LEDs, our team will personally deliver and install this perfect edition to your home, providing endless yearlong enlightenment for you, or your family and guests! (approximately SIZE)
Again, thank YOU so much for checking out our project! We can't do it without you!
If you'd like to get updates on our progress--like us on Facebook!
...and thanks to the wonderful folks at FIGMENT, ENYA, and SEAoNY for their ongoing support! thanks to Kurt Ritta, all our friends and family and to all the volunteers and our team at STUDIOKCA, Cory, Brian, Jinwon---keep up the good work!
LOOKING FOR MORE WAYS TO HELP?
Come and join our team of volunteers today! Be a part of the Head in the Clouds' Bottle Collection and/or Construction Team! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to working with you! (emerging architectural professionals and architecture students may receive IDP credit. Contact us at email@example.com for more information)
Risks and challenges
There are many challenges and risks when taking on the design and construction of a stand alone pavilion on an island- especially when you're determined to build the majority out of re-purposed and recycled materials- when you write it in one sentence it sounds REALLY challenging.
Here's a breakdown of what we have started doing/planning/scheduling:
This first stage of our project is bottle collection. This is a challenging process in itself, we started this even before we won the competition. We are almost half way there, and will hopefully reach our target collection before April (fingers crossed!).
The next challenge is and has been making sure our structure will work. Paying for and building the mock-up helped. Making sure we buy aluminum tubes from the right company, and work with a group of fabricators and engineers we trust, on reputable machines, ensures we'll create a sound structure.
Time and volunteers will determine how smoothly the building of the components goes, but we've allotted ourselves enough time so that we should be able to hit our end-of-May deadline.
Assembly should take 3 days, but we've planned for a week- just in case.
Your support is what will make this pavilion possible. 200,000 people will be able to enjoy this pavilion free of charge this summer, with your help- we will keep you up to date with our progress in the coming weeks- thank you again!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)