May 2, 2012
This year’s winner of the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, Wendy is an innovative project that engages the current ecological problems at hand which face the field of architecture and beyond, while refusing to let these same pressures get her down. Designed by Architizer sister company Hollwich-Kushner (HWKN), Wendy is an unapologetically formal scheme that presents an optimistic solution out of the ennui in which architecture presently is entrenched.
The architects designed a seven-bay network of scaffolding that forms a giant porous box to encase Wendy, a bright blue cluster of spikes and folds made from fabric specially treated with smog-eating, air-cleansing titania nanoparticles. The exuberant “starburst” shape may seem arbitrary, but is actually based on radically simple, yet rational premise: increase the fabric surface area and increase the quality of air in the neighborhood–in this case, the equivalent of removing 260 cars off the highway. Wendy’s dramatically shifting, yet iconic profile is, thus, a result of the performance optimization of every one of the design’s elements. Where the multi-faceted spikes may cascade, fold, and zig-zag to maximize surface coverage, they also reveal spatial opportunities to create climatic (shade) and programmatic (seating, misting areas, a DJ booth) zones. Some of the spikes will even be armed with water cannons, that will splash and cool visitors all summer long.
MoMA’s chief curator of architecture and design Barry Bergdoll says Wendy will be ”aesthetically unforgettable”, adding that, once built, it will look “amazing from the No. 7 train.” Beyond the project’s shock value, Bergdoll has noted how Wendy was born out of “months of sustained research” that yielded a prescient scheme that points towards “new directions for architecture in terms of material research, ecological responses, and recyclability.”
There are ways that you, too, can be involved in the Wendy project. Friends and graphic designers 2×4, Bruce Mau, and Pentagram have designed tote bags and t-shirts to the cause, each of which is emblazoned with striking graphics of Wendy and coated with the same titania nanoparticles that will clean the P.S. 1 courtyard this summer. The products, which are non-toxic, are available here and will be coming soon to all MoMA design stores. Buy some for you and your friends to jumpstart the nanoparticle revolution!
You can also volunteer your time and manpower to help build Wendy. More details, including volunteer schedules, can be found here. Construction will conclude by mid-June, when Summer Warm Up begins. For more on Wendy, including updates and photos, follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Wendy will be at MoMA PS1 from June 28 to September 8, 2012. See you there!
Wendy t-shirt by 2X4
Wendy t-shirt by Bruce Mau
Wendy t-shirt by Pentagram
Wendy tote by 2X4
Wendy tote by Bruce Mau
Wendy tote by Pentagram
Wendy tote by Bruce Mau Design
All shirts and totes can be purchased here!