In the summer of 2000, mosquito-borne West Nile virus was detected across New York State. Trucks sprayed pesticide in neighborhoods where surveillance found rising numbers of virus-infected mosquitos, and New York City Health Department advised people to stay indoors during spraying and to avoid possible mosquito breeding grounds in areas with standing water (figs. 2, 3).
The following year we won the MoMA P.S.1 Young Architects Competition to design the outdoor venue of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center’s Warm Up DJ festival. The project brief required the design to function both as a tranquil weekday respite from NYC, and a weekend DJ party space for 3,000 – 5,000 people. The annual event took place in the museum’s Long Island City courtyard in July and August – prime months of the West Nile virus outbreak the year before (figs. 4, 5 and ref. 1).
With the public health event of the previous summer in mind, we asked: Could a private open space be commandeered as a resource during a public health emergency?
The starting point for our design was understanding the 52,000 sqf courtyard as a temperature map (fig. 7) that could be manipulated by strategically placed low tech devices to modulate temperature and air flow according to human sensory comfort (figs. 8, 9). For relief from soaring NYC summer temperatures, shade structures, spray misters and a cooling body of water were requirements of the competition.
But sweat, movement, and carbon dioxide released during breathing – all byproducts of a crowded dance party – are stimuli known to attract mosquitos, as are sound, dark colors and standing water. It was clear that more-than-human nervous systems had to be factored into the design (ref. 2).
Long Island City, USA
Urban respite and DJ Party venue
systems and materials:
Steel, nylon netting, UV shade fabric, agricultural spray hose system, oscillating fans
Lindy Roy with Ben Aranda, Barbara Ludscher, Philip Kelly, Tomoyuki Minowa, Gernot Riether, and Monica Tiulescu.
Rebecca Arcano, Albert Angel, Andrew Ballard, Katherine Chang, Hayley Eber, Pablo Garcia, Jorge Godoy, Till Houtermans, Fuki Ikeda, Chris Lasch, Mariam Mojdehi, Anna Niemark, Ayako Ohkawa, Wade Perrin, Roberto Steck-Ibarra, Itsuka Sugimoto, Akiko Watanabe, Joshua Webster
coordination and fabrication:
The Oculus Group Ltd. and Cabezon Design Group
Dewhurst MacFarlane and Partners Inc.
Noah’s, Okavango Delta Spa, Hotel QT, The Garden Party, Hybird by Questlove, Swatch Ice
Berlin KW Institute for Contemporary Art
selected press and publications:
New York Magazine (June, 2001)
Blueprint (June, 2001)
The New York Times (July 5, 2001)
News Day (July 6, 2001)
The New York Times (July 27, 2001)
Interview (August, 2001)
The New York Times (August 3, 2001)
The New York Times (August 5, 2001)
LIFE Picture of the Day (Aug 8, 2001)
Vogue (September, 2001)
Architecture + Urbanism (September, 2001)
Frame (November-December 2001)
Interior Design (November, 2001)
Azure (January, 2002)
Oeste 014 (2004)
Future 10 Arquitecturas (August, 2002)