Since 2010, FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) have hosted a competition to design and build an architectural pavilion on Governors Island, NY. This year, along with American office BanG Studio, Spanish architect Izaskun Chinchilla has won the ‘City of Dreams’ Pavilion competition. The Pavilion is intended to be a sheltered gathering place for 50 or more people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, engage in a performance or lecture, and the historic context of Governors Island. The theme of ‘the City of Dreams’ looks to the future – of cities, people and crucially, to our relationship with materials and the sustainability of our environment. The competition asks entrants to consider how architecture and design can address these concerns through the materials, practices and relationships they embed within their design.
Izaskun Chinchilla’s winning design takes inspiration from nature (Hydrangea macrophylla, mophead hydrangea, or hortensia) to create an innovative and flexible solution that directly engages with local communities and familiar materials. Floral structures such as those found in hydrangeas have the ability to respond to the natural environment, growing and morphing to remain in balance with nature. Izaskun believes architecture must adopt a similar responsiveness, adapting to uncertain budgets, social change and ecological dynamics naturally, beautifully and intuitively.
The proposed design employs commonly found materials, giving them a new life after they have become unfit for their original purpose. The design utilizes broken umbrellas, old stools and damaged bicycle wheels, which several institutions in NY are already recycling. As with mop-head flowers, the Pavilion is itself composed of many smaller elements, all of which can be dismantled and re-used after the Summer. Branches composed of several umbrellas and tripods, can be easily reused as sun, wind and rain protection in outdoor spaces all around the city. Larger elements can be beautiful indoor chandeliers and both elements can be useful for community centers or NGOs.
Project description by Izaskun Chinchilla
Our pavilion states the ‘city of dreams’, the ‘city of tomorrow’ will have learnt further lessons from nature. We have carefully studied natural structures that can grow up and down to adapt context and time circumstances. The morphology of the hydrangea plant has been particularly useful. Mophead flowers are large round flower heads resembling domes. The number of mophead flowers that can be found in a plant depends on the age, orientation, humidity, light or quality of the soil among others. The plant grows keeping a good balance with the environment. Shouldn’t the ‘city of dreams’ do the same?. Architecture has to learn to adapt to uncertain budgets, social changing requirements and ecological dynamics. The philosophy of an organic growth: keeping ideas flexible so that can be adapted to real necessities, becomes crucial. This logic also provides a biophilic aspect to our proposal. Learning from nature helps taking care of human wellbeing naturally, beautifully and intuitively.
CRADLE TO CRADLE LOGIC
We have only considered materials with an environmentally friendly production. All the pieces included in this design can be already used before assemble. Broken umbrellas, old stools or crashed bicycle wheels are all useful. There are already several institutions in NY recycling bicycles and furniture that can provide used units. Although we are very happy to discuss any decision about pavilion reuse with FIGMENT/ENYA/SEAoNY we find it fundamental to provide options. We think reusing isolated elements is much more viable than reusing the pavilion as a whole and that’s also why our design is formed by self supported smaller units. Branches composed by several umbrellas and tripods, as well as stools, can be easily reused as sun, wind and rain protectors in windows, terraces or outdoor spaces all around the city. Bigger elements can be beautiful indoor chandeliers. Both elements can be useful for community centres or NGOs.
Place: New York, United States
Use of the building: Pavilion for outdoors activities
Author: Izaskun Chinchilla
Collaborators: Alejandro Espallargas, Adriana Cabello, Alfonso Aracil, Roberto Marín, Sally Hart, Antonio Abellán, Javier Esquivas, José Carrasco.
Students: José Luis Fernández, Marcos Antón, María Bernardo
Date: Design period: October-November 2014
Surface: 92,5 m2
Height: 4,89 m
Main materials: Umbrellas, tripods and bicycle wheels
Prizes/Publications: Winner of the 2015 City of Dreams Pavilion Competition
Graduated Architect since 2001 from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain). She is driving her own office since 2001 in Madrid. She has a long and deep experience in education. She is Senior Teaching Fellow and Researcher in Barlett School of Architecture (UCL London, UK). She has also teached in Ecole Special (Paris, France) and in HEAD University (Geneva, Switzerland). She was Studio Professor in the University of Alicante (Escuela de Arquitectura Universidad de Alicante) from 2002 to 2007 and she is at the moment in Madrid University (Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain) and in Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, Spain). Her designer activity is acompanied by a research project called “Social and Aesthetic Repercussions of technical topics and solutions which take ecology into account” and that has taken her as visitting scholar to Columbia University in New York (2002), Ecole de Mines de Paris (2003) and Princeton University in New Jersey (2004) and also to the Institut d´Arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya (Barcelona), in a Postgraduate Master (2003-2007).
As speaker she has participated in forum, lectures and debates in more than 80 international destinies and more than 90 different magazines and publications has talked about the proposals from her office. Her work has taken part of the exhibitions in 8ª Biennale di Venezia, 10ª Biennale di Venezia, V Bienal de Arquitectura y Diseño de Sao Paulo in traveling exhibitions as New Trends Europe-Asia, Panorama Emergente Iberoamericano or Europan 7 and in different museums and LIGA (México DF), Galeries including Gallery “mad is mad” (Madrid), Arquerias de Nuevos Ministerios del Ministerio de la Vivienda (Madrid), la Casa Encendida (Madrid), Museo de Teruel (Teruel) and several Profesional Associations for Architects in Spain and several Universities in the same Country.
She is at the moment supervising construction of her project for a Mediatheque in Garcimuñoz Medieval Casttle in Cuenca, Spain (a public cultural building including the refurnishment of the existing infrastructures with social purposes); the refurbishment of a Vernacular house in Toledo, Spain; and other smaller projects. She is also involved in the design of digital interactive exhibitions with social purpose like encourage the reading between young children (Fairytale Park Museography in Málaga) or appreciating the effort after some sports (Centro de Arte Canal).
As an architect, she claims for a strong compromise with innovation. In her project she proposes multidisciplinary exercises in which, through ecology, sociology or science, architecture goes beyond stylistic distinctions and meets again the complexity of real life in our contemporary world.
She has won more than 20 different prizes in professional competitions. Some of these awards follows:
2001: First Prize for the UNED Pavilion Competition in Madrid Book Fair.
2003: First Prize, Europan 7 Competition, Site: Santiago de Compostela. 2006: Third Prize, “Contemporary Art Centre Competition, ARCO Collection, Matadero of Madrid”.
2007: Second Prize in the Competition “Pavilion of Spain at the Shanghai Expo 2010”. 2010: Runner Up in the Competition “Extension of the Museum of Modern Art in Medellín”, Medellín, Colombia.