SUR by Xefirotarch
June 26, 2005—August 30, 2005
The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center announced today the selection of Los Angeles-based Xefirotarch as the winner of the sixth annual MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program, a competition that invites emerging architects to propose a building project for the courtyard of P.S.1 in Long Island City, Queens. The objective of the Young Architects Program is to identify and provide an outlet for emerging young talent in architecture, an ongoing mission of both MoMA and P.S.1. This year, five finalists selected from seventeen portfolio submissions were instructed to transform P.S.1’s outdoor courtyard with the allotted project budget of $60,000.
Xefirotarch, the winning finalist, will realize SUR, a playful, elegant installation resembling a reconfigured skeletal form that will undulate and sprawl throughout the courtyard. As in past years, the project will serve as the venue for Warm Up, the popular music series held annually in P.S.1’s courtyard. A press preview will be held prior SUR’s unveiling; the installation will be on view through September 2005. The proposed designs by the five 2005 Young Architects Program finalists will be presented at The Museum of Modern Art in The Louise Reinhardt Smith Gallery from June 22 – August 22, 2005.
Terence Riley, Philip Johnson Chief Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art comments, “Hernan Diaz Alonso’s proposal is a bold one which poses unique challenges. The team will need to devote all their energies to the creation of a tectonic language for a formal system that has heretofore been largely theoretical.”
“SUR is futuristic and organic, sophisticated and exhilarating. Visitors will feel as if they’ve landed on another planet for the afternoon,” remarks P.S.1 Executive Director Alanna Heiss.
SUR consists of a red and white base cast with composite fiberglass and rubber, and a corresponding freestanding aluminum armature covered with latex and polyurethane-sprayed spandex. Scattered between undulating, fluid surfaces are benches for listening and respite. The canopy overhead will be silver in appearance and conceal artificial lighting. Combined with the suspended, tiered shards of fabric, the artificial lighting and the summer breeze will dapple visitors beneath with a range of shadows and light densities as they savor the summer afternoon.
Xefirotarch Principal, Hernan Diaz Alonso describes the installation: “With the flair of a circus and the ambience of a playground, SUR functions as a game: there is no narrative, only active rules and emergent behavior. Prescriptive mappings are turned inside-out.”
For the Young Architects Program 2005 selection process, experts in the field of architecture, including architects, curators, academics, and magazine editors, nominated the finalists from a pool of seventeen candidates who were both recent graduates and established architects experimenting with new styles or techniques. Five finalists presented proposals to a panel comprised of Glenn D. Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art; Alanna Heiss, Executive Director, P.S.1; Terence Riley, Philip Johnson Chief Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, P.S.1 and Curator, Department of Film and Media, The Museum of Modern Art, and Antoine Guerrero, Director of Exhibitions, P.S.1. In addition to Xefirotarch (Los Angeles), the finalists included Aranda/Lasch (New York), Forsythe + MacAllen Design, (Vancouver, B.C.), Graftworks (New York), and WW (Boston). 2005 will be the eighth summer that P.S.1 has hosted a combined architectural installation and music series in its outdoor galleries. The inaugural project was an architectural installation in 1998 by an Austrian collective, Gelatin. In 1999, Philip Johnson’s DJ Pavilion celebrated the historic partnership of P.S.1 and MoMA. The previous winners of the Young Architects Program are SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli (2000), ROY (2001), William E. Massie (2002), Tom Wiscombe / EMERGENT (2003), and nARCHITECTS (2004).
Xefirotarch, founded by Principal, Hernan Diaz Alonso, is an award-winning design firm in Architecture, Product and Digital Motion based in Los Angeles. Born in Argentina, Diaz Alonso received architecture degrees from the National University of Rosario, Argentina and Columbia University’s AAD Program, New York, from which he graduated with honors; Diaz Alonso is currently design studio and softech faculty, and thesis coordinator at SCI-ARC, and a visiting professor at Columbia University’s GSAPP program. Before founding Xefirotarch in 2000, Diaz Alonso worked as a designer for Enric Miralles, Barcelona and as a senior designer at Eisenman Architects, New York. He has received numerous awards, including the Pusan International Competition, 1st Honorable Mention; Miami Beach International Biennale, Honorable Mention; the Dublin U2 Landmark Tower International Competition, Final selection, and others. Work by Xefirotarch has been widely published by L’Arca, Architectural Record, Fluxes, Metropolis, La Nacion and The New York Times, among others, and was recently exhibited in the 2004 Venice Biennale, Metamorphose; Archilab, Orleans, France; The Naked City, Beijing Biennale; Glamour, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the 2003 Rotterdam Biennale. Xefirotarch’s first solo show, scheduled for March 2006 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will travel to Europe and Asia and will be accompanied by a monograph. Projects by Xefirotarch are featured in the permanent collections of the FRAC (France Architecture Collection) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.