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The Brooklyn firm Solid Objectives — Idenburg Liu, who go by the abbreviation SO — IL, has won the Museum of Modern Art's annual competition to design a temporary event space for P.S.1, the MoMA-affiliated contemporary art center in Queens. The firm's scheme, titled Pole Dance, will use bungee cords to thread together a series of 25-foot poles inside the kunsthalle's courtyard.

Read the official announcement below:

NEW YORK, January 22, 2010—The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center announce the winner of the 2010 MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program: the architectural firm Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL). Celebrating its eleventh year, the program continues its commitment to offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects. After a successful first decade, the Young Architects Program will now focus on designs which address sustainability, recycling, and reuse. The five finalists selected by an invited nomination panel were asked to present designs for temporary urban landscapes that incorporate elements of shade, water, seating, and bar areas for the expansive courtyard entrance of P.S.1, within the allotted project budget of $85,000. SO – IL’s winning landscape, Pole Dance, will be on view in P.S.1’s outdoor courtyard starting in June, creating an interactive environment for the 2010 Warm Up summer music series. Conceived as a participatory environment that reframes the conceptual relationship between humankind and structure, Pole Dance is an interconnected system of poles and bungees whose equilibrium is open to human action and environmental factors.  Throughout the courtyard, groups of 25-foot-tall poles on 12 x 12-foot grids connected by bungee cords whose elasticity will cause the poles to gently sway, creating a steady ripple throughout the courtyard space. Each grid contains a number of playful activators, such as hammocks, pulls, misters, and rain collecting plants. An open net covering the entire scope of the grid system will provide shelter and stabilize the movement of the poles, preventing them from exceeding a predetermined maximum pivot. A generous series of multi-colored balls will move above the net offering mutable shade and the appearance of a communal game. Dropping down at two points, the net will surround a pool and a sandpit.

In addition to SO – IL (Brooklyn, New York), the other finalists for this year’s Young Architects Program were BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark), EASTON+COMBS (Brooklyn, New York), FREECELL (Brooklyn, New York), and William O’Brien Jr. (Cambridge, Massachusetts). An exhibition of the five finalists' proposed projects will be on view at MoMA over the summer. It will be organized by Andres Lepik, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art. Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA, explains, “Pole Dance is a brilliant – playful and sincere at once – response to our increasingly virtual world of social media and computer screen games.  For a season, with simple materials and elegant engineering, the P.S.1 courtyard is converted into an occupiable game and social zone with many of the markers of the virtual world realized in elements that partake of the traditional playground or gym. Here the net is literal and physical, the space tangible, the encounters unprogrammable. Yet the system is dynamic and interactive and – in the spirit of this year’s call for a response to contemporary issues of sustainability – all the materials can be reused and redeployable.” Klaus Biesenbach, P.S.1 Director and MoMA Chief Curator at Large, adds, “At first glance I thought that Pole Dance looked like the interior of a computer game, with the net hovering above the viewer like a screen. But then I realized it is a truly experiential, nearly adventurous landscape where the viewers can actively engage with the architecture and each other.”
For the Young Architects Program 2010 selection process, MoMA and P.S.1 invited outside experts in the field of architecture, including architects, curators, scholars, and magazine editors, to nominate the finalists from a pool of approximately 25 candidates that included both recent graduates and established architects experimenting with new styles or techniques. After reviewing the candidates, five finalists were selected to present proposals to a panel composed of Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA Director; Kathy Halbreich, MoMA Associate Director; Peter Reed, MoMA Senior Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs; Barry Bergdoll, MoMA Philip Johnson Chief Curator, Department of Architecture and Design; and Andres Lepik, MoMA Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, Klaus Biesenbach, P.S.1 Director and MoMA Chief Curator at Large; and Antoine Guerrero, P.S.1 Director of Operations and Exhibitions.
This year marks the thirteenth summer that P.S.1 has hosted a combined architectural installation and music series in its outdoor galleries, though it is only the eleventh year of the Young Architects Program, which began in 2000. The inaugural project was an architecturally based installation in 1998 by an Austrian artist collective, Gelatin. In 1999, Philip Johnson’s DJ Pavilion celebrated the historic affiliation 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), nARCHITECTS (2004), Xefirotarch (2005), OBRA (2006), Ball-Nogues (2007), WORKac (2008), and MOS (2009).
Combining a host of experience from the worlds of museum architecture, academia, corporate architecture, and the hospitality industry, SO – IL is a small studio with a global reach. Founders Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu set up their Brooklyn-based studio in 2007 to be a creative catalyst, involved at all scales and all stages of the architectural process to develop singular, beautiful and functional solutions. 

SO – IL’s recent projects include a house for designer Ivan Chermayeff in upstate New York; a shell-shaped wedding chapel in Nanjing, China; a museum for contemporary art near The Hague; as well as a project space for Kukje Gallery in Seoul. They are one of five finalists for in an international competition for architects under the age of 35 to design student housing in Athens, Greece, and has been selected as one of 20 teams in an international design competition to design the new facilities for the Netherlands Dance Theatre in a team alongside Diller-Scofidio+Renfro.

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Images courtesy Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu