For attendees of MoMA PS1’s annual outdoor music series Warm Up, a new summer season means a new, quirky installation in the Long Island City museum’s urban courtyard. Today, Jenny Sabin Studio was announced the winner of the Young Architect’s Program for designing a canopy of recycled, photo-luminescent textiles, to open this June. The competition, now in its 18th iteration, challenges emerging architects to come up with inventive, site-specific designs that provide shade, seating, and water. The shortlist included designs by Bureau Spectacular, Ania Jaworska, Office of III, and SCHAUM/SHIEH.
Sabin’s design, Lumen, was informed by the architect’s collaborative research in material science. The canopy’s highly responsive fabric, initially developed by Sabin for Nike, absorbs, collects, and releases sunlight, causing it to glow; it also holds the shape of passersby’s shadows. “The experience will be different from day to night,” says Sabin, a director at Cornell University’s architecture school and also a 2016 recipient of RECORD’s Women in Architecture Awards. The high-tech material, which is digitally knit in 3D, will be held in tension from the courtyard’s concrete walls and supported by three 20-foot-high steel structures. Stalactite-like forms hanging from the canopy will be programmed to release mist as visitors walk by.
Calling the project a “catalytic immersive environment,” associate curator in MoMA’s department of architecture and design Sean Anderson, praised Lumen for its “critical merging of technology and nature” and a “precise attention to detail at every scale.”