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2012 Young Architects Program winner will take New York by storm

Using off the shelf materials and the latest nanotechnology, HWKN's Wendy is a big, blue air cleaning machine.
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Written by Sun Kim on

The winning entry of this year's Young Architects Program (YAP) in New York has blue arms and cleans the air. Named Wendy by HWKN (HollwichKushner), the 45 foot tall structure will live in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 during the Warm Up summer music series.

HWKN's design combines conventional materials, a strategic use of scale, and simple construction. Wendy will be formed with scaffolding, a familiar sight to New Yorkers, and stretched blue nylon to create spiky arms that reach into and over the outdoor space. The arms, formed by protruding pipes, will shoot air, water, mist, and music, encouraging interaction and participation with museum and concert goers.

The pollution fighting ingredient is a Titania (TiO2) nanoparticle spray which will coat the nylon. TiO2 makes surfaces self-cleaning and resistant to dirt and odor. When UV light strikes TiO2, oxidizers that neutralize nitrogen dioxide are released into the air. Wendy's size and form are based on the basic but functional idea that a greater surface area will clean more air.  Over the course of the summer, the amount of air cleaned by Wendy is expected to be equal to the effect of removing 260 cars from the road.

In a press release, Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA, praised the design for its cutting edge nanotechnology and for pushing the potential of architecture:

“HollwichKushner's design is at once based in emerging science of materials related to environmental cleansing—the material actually removes the carbon dioxide emissions produced by cars in Long Island  City—but also on a zany quest for a space that is simply good fun.  Even passengers on the elevated 7 train will feel compelled to head to MoMA PS1 to experience Wendy and figure out what in the world it can possibly be all about."

Like all great inventions, the name has a story. As Mark Kushner, the KN of HWKN, tells Art Info,

We think of Wendy as a storm. All powerful storms have names. In a video that we’ll release shortly, we use that song by the Association called “Everyone Knows It’s Windy.” The storm kind of started to have a personality about it. We’re trying to change the game of architecture and be more proactive about speaking to people who use architecture but aren’t architects. Trying to change the game of architecture and being more proactive really speaks to people who use architecture who aren’t architects. We didn’t want to revert to traditional architectural naming devices, which tend to be an insider game, so we went the total opposite direction, to choosing one that anyone could say and start to fall in love with.

The Young Architects Program is an annual collaboration between the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 that gives emerging designers an opportunity to create a temporary outdoor installation for live summer events. The winning projects are highly innovative designs that provide shade, seating, and water and address environmental issues.

Wendy will be open to the public in June 2012.

Via: ArtInfo

Images: Courtesy of HWKN

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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