Light-Wing by Tom Wiscombe of EMERGENT
June 29, 2003—August 31, 2003
The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center selected Tom Wiscombe of EMERGENT as the winner of the fourth annual MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program, a competition that invites emerging architects to propose a building project for 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. The contestants were instructed to make the best use of P.S.1's outdoor courtyard, remaining within the allotted project budget of $60,000. Mr. Wiscombe will realize his vision for the "urban beach" project, which provides shade and cool water basins during the day and transforms into a giant horizontal lantern at night. As in past years, the project will become the venue for Warm Up, the popular music series held annually in P.S.1's courtyard. Mr. Wiscombe's project will be up through August 31.
To choose an architect for this project, experts in the field of architecture, including architects, curators, academics, and magazine editors, nominated 25 candidates from a pool of 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, Director, P.S.1; Terence Riley, Chief Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, P.S.1; and Antoine Guerrero, Director of Operations, P.S.1. In addition to Mr. Wiscombe (Los Angeles, Vienna), the finalists selected by the panel were Cho Slade (New York, Korea), Ellinger/Yehia Design (New York), Rogers Marvel (New York), and SYSTEMarchitects (New York).
Mr. Riley comments, "Tom Wiscombe's project promises to be an extremely skillful and inventive transformation of P.S.1's public spaces. The quality of Wiscombe's proposal, as well as that of the four finalists, is a testament to the growing reputation of the Young Architects Program as well as the remarkably mature skills of this particular generation."
"Of the many exciting collaborations undertaken since P.S.1 became affiliated with MoMA, one of the most interesting is the Young Architects Program. Tom Wiscombe's imaginative project will transform our courtyard into a refreshing urban beach this summer," states Alanna Heiss.
Wiscombe's proposal is inspired by sails, kites, and other tension structures traditionally found at the beach that exploit or modulate dynamic forces like wind and sunlight. It is also motivated by natural formations, such as tide pools and open-air canopies that provide shade from the sun. The design is defined by two elements: a translucent, permeable roof of interconnected canoe-like shapes that will cover portions of P.S.1's courtyard, and a leisure landscape with two long pools that creates new passageways through the monumental courtyard, provides an escape from the New York heat, and offers new spaces for swimming and lounging.
This will be the sixth 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), and William E. Massie (2002).
Founded by Tom Wiscombe in 1999, EMERGENT is a network of designers and technicians dedicated to researching issues of globalism, technology, and materiality through built form. The firm is currently working on two residential projects and several international competitions. EMERGENT exhibited work at ArchiLab 2001 in Orlon, France, and their work is part of the permanent collection at the Centre Georges Pompidou/FRAC Center. The firm will also appear at ArchiLab 2003. Mr. Wiscombe maintains an active consultancy/partnership with Coop Himmelb(l)au, where he has been a Partner and Senior Office Designer for nine years. He is best known for his award-winning designs for the Dresden UFA Cinema Palace project, completed in 1998, and the Lyon Muse des Confluences, which is currently in the planning stage. During 2001, in a partnership between Coop Himelb(l)au and EMERGENT in Los Angeles, Mr. Wiscombe led the design team that produced the winning scheme for the Akron Art Museum and the BMW Experience and Delivery Center in Munich, Germany. Educated at UCLA and U.C. Berkeley, Mr. Wiscombe teaches design and technology at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arch), UCLA, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and Woodbury University in California.