MoMA Hosts Creative Lock-In to Save New York’s Waterfronts

The museum is sponsoring a workshop aiming for new solutions for sheltering the city’s threatened waterfront.

Museum of Modern Art


New York’s Museum of Modern Art is lending a hand, hoping to solve some of the city’s environmental headaches.

Starting on November 16, they’re gathering a select group of architects, engineers, and landscape designers, and then more or less locking them in a room for eight weeks. The assignment: Figure out how to save New York’s waterfronts, which are sorely threatened by rising water levels caused by global warming.

The results of that caffeine fueled idea-jam will then be exhibited in a show called “Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront,” running through January 8, 2010.


According to the press release, here’s the participants:

Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David Lewis of LTL Architects and team
will work on the Northwest Palisade Bay/Hudson River area, which
includes parts of New Jersey, Liberty Park/Ellis Island, and the Statue
of Liberty and waters.

Matthew Baird of Matthew Baird Architects and
his team will focus on the Southwest Palisade Bay/Kill van Kull area,
which includes Bayonne, N.J., Bayonne Piers, and northern Staten Island
and waters.

Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS and their team are
assigned the South Palisade Bay/Verrazano Narrows area, including
eastern Staten Island, and Bay Ridge and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, and

Kate Orff of SCAPE Studio, and her team, will concentrate on
the Northeast Palisade Bay/Buttermilk Channel and Gowanus Canal area,
including Governors Island, the Red Hook area in Brooklyn, and waters.

All of them will be taking up temporary residence at MoMA’s sister gallery, P.S.1, in Queens.

The project is definitely exploratory–no one’s got a building budget, much less city approvals–but it’s based on actual problems. Recent reports by the New York City Panel on Climate Change and Guy Nordenson, a structural engineer at Princeton have both argued that higher temperatures and rising sea levels will necessitate some sort of “soft” infrastructures, which can adapt to changing conditions.

It’s also important for MoMA. Critics have often accused MoMA of being an ivory tower, focused on the 20th century rather than the 21st. This exhibit is an attempt to place MoMA front and center of ongoing debates. And Rising Currents will be the first in an ongoing contemporary architecture series, dedicated to public-interest issues, rather than architectural theorizing.


[Via Art Daily]


About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.