MoMA and MAXXI applaud rising stars

Thursday 17 Feb 2011

Prestigious cultural institutions in Rome and New York honour young design talent

For the first time, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), MoMA PS1, and the National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) have worked in partnership to recognise and applaud aspiring young designers. MoMA is now in the 12th year of its annual Young Architects Program in New York City, drawing attention to emerging architecture and design talent through a competition to compose a highly innovative temporary installation. This year, the Museum is working in collaboration with Zaha Hadid’s striking MAXXI in Rome – for which she was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize 2010 in October – which this year launched the first YAP_MAXXI Young Architects Program.

MoMa and MoMA PS1’s competition invited young designers to generate plans for a temporary outdoor installation in the irregular seven-sided courtyard at MoMA PS1, providing shade, seating and water for visitors to the Museum’s 2011 Warm Up summer music series. A selection committee awarded the prize to Brooklyn-based Interboro Partners for its expressive and original installation which utilises an array of miscellaneous objects, including benches, mirrors, ping-pong tables and floodlights, under a taut canopy of rope strung from MoMA PS1’s wall to the parapet across the courtyard. The project is entitled Holding Pattern and will be opened in June 2011.

During the design process, Interboro Partners spent long periods of time conversing with local businesses and community groups, asking: “Is there something you need that we could design, use in the courtyard during the Warm Up, then donate in the fall, once the Warm Up is over?” The final result of this dialogue ‘is a scheme that doesn’t so much redesign the courtyard as reveal it’. Philip Johnson Chief Curator at MoMA, Barry Bergdoll explains: “Simple materials that transform a space to create a kind of public living room and rec room are trademarks of this young Brooklyn firm. Interboro is interested in creating elegant and unpretentious spaces with common materials. Their work has both a modesty and a commitment quite at odds with the luxury and complex computer-generated form that has prevailed in the city in recent years.”

stARTT of Rome was chosen as the inaugural winner of the YAP_MAXXI Young Architects Program by a separate selection committee for their WHATAMI concept. To kick off the new partnership with MoMA and MoMA PS1, MAXXI invited young practices to design an innovative new event space for its piazza, to be opened in June 2011. stARTT’s design maps out an artificial archipelago-hill, with smaller green islands dotted throughout the garden. The natural elements are employed to juxtapose with the bold concrete design of Hadid’s arresting architectural structure and present a two-fold recycling process: the construction materials used, i.e. straw, geo-textiles etc, and the dismantling of the ‘hill’, i.e. turf, lighting.

Senior Curator of Architecture at MAXXI, Pippo Ciorra commented: “We’re very happy with the results of this programme for three main reasons. First, the collaboration with MoMA proved as effective and productive as we hoped, finally allowing us a surprising insight into the most recent research in terms of architecture, public space, and landscape. Second, we were able to discover an unexpected positive quality of answers by the Italian and European young (under 35) architects involved in the project, all proposing fascinating, innovative and well developed proposals. Third, we’re delighted that we were able to choose a winning proposal which incorporates a MAXXI_specific approach to the issues of ecology, recycle, and public space.”


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