A pavilion made of metal grain bins will debut this summer on Governors Island

Posted On Fri, February 2, 2018 By

Posted On Fri, February 2, 2018 By In Art, Green Design

Renderings courtesy of Austin+Mergold in collaboration with Maria Park, and consulting engineers Chris Earls (Cornell) and Scott Hughes (Silman)

“Oculi” is the latest winner of FIGMENT’s City of Dreams competition, an annual design contest challenging architecture and design firms to build a pavilion out of recycled materials to be assembled and displayed on Governor’s Island. Last summer, visitors to the island were graced with a pavilion made out of more than 300,000 aluminum cans (the number of cans used in NYC in an hour), melted down and cast into cracked clay. This year, the competition is highlighting metal grain bins. A design by the firm Austin+Mergold, in collaboration with Maria Park (of Cornell University) and consulting engineers Chris Earls and Scott Hughes, will reuse old metal grain bins for a pavilion that establishes a visual connection between urban and rural ways of life.

City of dreams, governors island, Oculi, Austin+Mergold

The City of Dreams Pavilion promotes sustainability-oriented thinking within architecture and design, given the strains on economic and natural resources in our future. The idea is to encourage designers to make something of value from products that would otherwise be disposed.

Oculi, the winning proposal, is re-imagining unused metal grain bins (also known as silos), “vestiges of the American agro-industrial age,” as a press release puts it. “Grain bins are our contemporary spolia; as such these structures can be both useful and fanciful,” says the release.

Bins brought from the fields of upstate New York down to Governor’s Island will make the connection between urban and rural living. Here are details of the actual installation:

A field of elevated oculi will frame unobstructed views of the sky and track the path of the sun, producing a range of shadow patterns augmented by color and sound. The interiors of these suspended rooms will be painted a particular color of the daytime sky, inviting viewers to negotiate their paths below the structures. As viewers look up through the oculi, the colors of the walls of the silo will at times match the color of the sky.

If all goes well, this temporary art structure will be assembled on Governors Island and open to the public for this summer season. Currently, the team is accepting donations to support the fabrication, installation, and maintenance of the pavilion here. The project will also likely launch its own funding campaign. And until summertime, they’ll be hard at work selecting an exact site for Oculi, refining the design and getting the necessary approvals for installation.


Renderings courtesy of Austin+Mergold in collaboration with Maria Park, and consulting engineers Chris Earls (Cornell) and Scott Hughes (Silman)

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Neighborhoods : Governors Island



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