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Living City: A pulic interface to air quality in New York
Start Date 11/12/2007
End Date 18/01/2008
Location New York 
Country United States 
Description and


From Trend-Spotting to Environmental Testing: Communicating through Distributed Networks

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
at Van Alen Institute
30 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Van Alen Institute is pleased to announce an exhibition by New York Prize Fellows David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang. In the future, walls will breathe and buildings will talk to one another. Construction materials and systems that have been inert for thousands of years will respond in real-time to the dynamic conditions of their surrounding environments and to a larger network of data. Architecture will come to life and create a Living City.

Living City is a large-scale installation of a building skin designed to breathe in response to air quality. During their tenure as Van Alen Institute Fellows, Benjamin and Yang have been developing one of the first full-scale architecture prototypes to link local responses in a building to a distributed network of sensors throughout the city. The prototype will be based at Van Alen Institute’s public gallery and will communicate wirelessly with air quality sensors around New York City, moving in response to information the sensors collect. Using the city as a research lab, Benjamin and Yang propose an architecture that functions as a public interface to urban air quality, creating a platform for an ecology of building skins where individual buildings receive, share and respond to data as part of a collective network. For more information on Living City, please visit

Following a presentation by Benjamin and Yang, DeeDee Gordon (Look-Look, Inc.) and Mark Hansen (Center for Embedded Network Sensing, UCLA) will be featured In Conversation to discuss social networking intelligence, distributed sensor networks, and new developments in the communication of cultural, environmental and scientific data. Van Alen Institute's ‘In Conversation’ series pairs diverse practitioners in spontaneous, unscripted dialogue to bridge work in contemporary architecture and urbanism with other disciplines that engage the public realm.

This program is free and open to the registered public; please RSVP to by Friday, December 7, 2007.

The Living City exhibition will be on view at Van Alen Institute December 11, 2007 – January 18, 2008. Living City is additionally supported by the Graham Foundation and the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia University.


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