ATP win joint first prize for Peace Pentagon project
Affectionately known as the ‘Peace Pentagon’, 339 Lafayette Street in New York has been the focus of a global, open competition to refurbish the three storey building. Joint first prize was awarded to three separate design teams for their submissions: ATP Sphere (the design lab of ATP Architects and Engineers) for their lightweight tent structure, Maureen Connor/Institute for Wishful Thinking for their use of an obsolete ocean liner and Ménélik Jobert for a layered design of the existing building.
The building that has been at the heart of American peace movement for more than 30 years gained protected status in 2008 as it was incorporated into the Manhattan Historic District and presented with a Place Matters Award. The competition for its refurbishment was launched in August 2009 with the brief that the winning design would enable the building to be used to express the spirit of the peace and justice movement, and would create a financially, socially and environmentally sustainable building.
At the centre of ATP’s proposal, chosen from 128 entries from around the world, is a ‘peace light’ created out of refugee tents. The design sees the building double in size and ATP hope that the white extension will change the whole ethos of the building. The sign will sometimes be a blaze of white light and sometimes be lustrous, very calm, almost floating. The addition can also be used project imagery although it will mainly remain as a white cube in a direct reference to the theme of peace.
The entire ground floor will be taken up by a restaurant. An open cooking area will bring the cuisine of all the world’s war zones to the streets of NYC. People from regions rocked by war will be invited to cook dishes from their homeland. Both upper levels of the existing building are given a semi-public use as, for example, offices. The large space of the extension (the white cube) can be used in many ways by the operators of the Peace Pentagon, perhaps as a space for events with large free height.