Garden Pavilion

The Garden Pavilion was a competition proposal for the City of Dreams summer arts program on Governor's Island, NY. The competition brief was centered around the question: What is the Future City? Through our proposal, The Garden Pavilion, we suggested that the Future City may balance technology with simple concepts of sustainability. In a reaction against the wasteful transport of our current globalized food network, we proposed that NYC could provide its own food sources. We are interested in what a self-subsistent produce network would look like in a city of 8.4 million people and whether it is possible. Our proposal focused on utilizing the pavilion not only as an active public space for Governor's Island, but also as a tool to communicate this vision of a Future City. Our strategy used the form and surface of the Garden Pavilion to communicate a representative question: How much urban garden space would be required to grow produce for all of NYC?

We proposed to intercept an existing sustainable supply chain and participate in the transition of a material's use. Our strategy was to source a small aging New England barn and create the Garden Pavilion by participating in the re-appropriation and re-location of reclaimed wood. We proposed to collaborate with a local milling shop that works in wood reclamation to inform our own transformation of the barn's wood-stock so that our own intervention moved the material efficiently and effectively closer to its next purpose as a finish material.

The barn's familiar vernacular form acts as the point of departure for the proposal's form. Our process transformed the barn form to achieve a simple graphic methoda figure/ground image of how much planted garden space is required to supply current NYC population with the associated produce. With five sides of the barn representing the five boroughs: the area of each side is manipulated to proportionately match the developable area of each of the five boroughs. The gable end frames are preserved in their original shape while the intermediate sides and roof are manipulated to produce the proportional relationship with each borough's developable area. Wood boards are arranged across each surface to create a figure/ground representation of the approximate garden area (rooftop, ground, or otherwise) required to grow NYC's produce needs. The void space on a given side represents the growing area needed for that borough. The overall and comparative results are interesting to contemplate: Using high density vertical garden and farming methods an area covering 18% of New York City's developable land could provide the City's 8.4 million residents with basic produce needs. This could be achieved on existing flat roof surface area of the city, but is also roughly equal to the amount of vacant land that exists within the city already.

For the visitor, the reading of the figure/ground image is obscured until the visitor enters the pavilion and is able to look out. Once inside, a visitor can view each side of the barn's surface and obtain an intuitive sense of how much area must be planted to grow the produce for each of the five boroughs.

    • Location
    • Governor's Island, NY
    • Type
    • Competition
    • Status
    • Propsal
    • Size
    • 500 sf
    • Credits
    • Dustin Stephens (MOA)
    • Alan E. Ho (MOA)