Holding Pattern


"Holding Pattern" is Interboro's winning submission to MoMA PS1's Young Architects Program. It will be installed in MoMA PS1's courtyard in Summer 2011.

"Holding Pattern" is the product of a sustained dialog with MoMA PS1's courtyard and its neighbors. Instead of telling it what it should be, we patiently listened to what it and its neighbors had to say, then responded in kind. The result of this dialog is a scheme doesn't so much redesign the courtyard as reveal it.

Time and circumstance had its way with MoMA PS1's courtyard, which in an ideal world would be shaped like a rectangle but which is in reality an irregular seven-sided polygon. Thanks to its neighbor, 2201 Jackson Avenue, which managed to muscle its way into MoMA PS1's courtyard, and to Jackson Avenue itself, which chopped off the block's southwestern corner, Warm Up has had to make do with a very odd, idiosyncratic space. The stairs in front of Warm Up's stage suggest that people should watch the audience instead of the performers, entering the museum feels like being backstage with the band, and the backdoor has been repurposed as the main entry. But as the best baseball stadiums demonstrate, having to make do with less-than-ideal conditions can yield positive outcomes.

"Holding Pattern" reveals this situation by stringing ropes from holes in MoMA PS1's concrete wall to the parapet across the courtyard. In the same way that Hugh Ferris reveals the potential of New York City's 1916 zoning code by drawing the theoretical building envelope, we reveal the very odd, idiosyncratic space of the courtyard and simultaneously create an inexpensive and column-free space for the activity below. From the ground, the experience is of a soaring hyperboloid surface.

Takis is the owner of Checker Management, a taxi cab company located across the street from MoMA PS1. Takis leases 150 cabs to 300 drivers, who show up every day between 4:00 and 6:00 to pick up their cab, gas it up, and perform routine maintenance. In the summer, when the weather is nice, Takis sets up a makeshift outdoor plaza for his employees. The plastic tables, chairs, and tent are used by the drivers to sit, talk, and-on weekends in the summer-watch the throngs of people who pour into MoMA PS1 for the Warm-Up.

"It's not much, but I do what I can to keep my drivers happy," Takis told us.

As finalists of MoMA PS1's Young Architect's competition, our task is of course to think about how to keep Warm Up's patrons happy. But as Takis's story suggests, Warm-Up's programmatic requirements seating, shade, and a water feature-sometimes overlap with the needs of Warm Up's neighbors.

"Holding Pattern" is a new take on recycling. For it, we talked to as many of MoMA PS1's neighbors as we could. In addition to cab drivers, we met with senior and day care centers, high schools, settlement houses, and the local YMCA, library, and greenmarket (to name just a few). We simply asked each one: is there something you need that we could design, use in the courtyard during the Warm Up, then donate in the fall, once the Warm Up is over?

The result is an eclectic collection of objects-including benches, mirrors, ping-pong tables, and flood lights-that we never would have thought to include, but that both enhance the Warm Up's program, and strengthen MoMA PS1's ties to its neighborhood.

Tobias Armborst (Principal), Daniel D'Oca (Principal), Georgeen Theodore (Principal), Rebecca Beyer Winik (Project Manager), Kathleen Cahill, Cristobal Correa (Structural Engineer), Andrew Coslow, Jenessa Frey, Lesser Gonzalez, David Himelman, Jenna Kaminsky, Brian Novello, Joel Okpala, Carsten Rodin, Becky Slogeris, Jeff Thompson (Structural Engineer)

Special thanks:
Bancker Construction Corporation, Benjamin Ball, Buro Happold, Hillary Sample, NJIT Modelshop, Valerie Moss (Citibank), Takis (Checker Management) Veronica Franklin, William T. Newlin (Jacob Riis Settlement House), Eric Ragan (LIC Ballet), Irina (LIC Kids), Cedrick Green (YMCA), Chelsea Whittaker (Greenmarket), Meres (5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center), Paul Finnegan (New York Irish Center), Kryss Shane (Ravenswood NORC)

From the architects


6 photos and 5 drawings

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