We were pretty bummed over the summer when we heard that Long Island City graffiti mecca 5Pointz was being torn down and replaced with condos. But now that the site has officially been razed, a group of architects are taking this crime against architecture and using it to fuel their mission of preserving the city’s unofficial artistic and cultural landmarks.
Arianna Armelli, Ishaan Kumar, David Sepulveda, and Wagdy Moussa created DEFACED as a group that “values artistic freedom and expression, protecting the cultural relics of New York City refusing to witness the complete disregard for the history of New York.” As their first order of business, they’ve created a proposal to buy back the 5Pointz site from developers and build a creative oasis that includes an urban rooftop with rainwater collection system, artist gallery, and recycling center.
DEFACED cites the rise of luxury housing during the Bloomberg era, making it difficult for working-class New Yorkers and artists to find affordable studios and homes. Therefore, the group says that they fight for “the survival of the existing working middle class and vouches to re-rebrand New York as its original home where opportunity for the young and inspired flourishes once again.”
The group chose Long Island City as their first site of intervention. Since the area played such a major role in the industrial revolution of New York, its warehouse and factory building represent an economically flourishing city. Further, they feel that the loss of industry inspired artistic and cultural change, best exemplified by 5Pointz.
Their idea for a new cultural center would include a “core” that provides a sustainable rainwater collection system that is treated for reuse within the building. This would be done through rerouting existing storm water sewer lines into the building and by installing a collection system on the roof. Additionally, the site would account for over 50% of the Long Island City’s garbage disposal, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills.
DEFACED envisions their project as a living organism around which artists and those in poverty would gather– “a new mosh-pit of collaboration and invention.” The founding architects liken their plans to the artistic revolution of the 1970’s…do you agree?
Photos courtesy of Arianna Armelli, Ishaan Kumar, David Sepulveda, and Wagdy Moussa
Neighborhoods : Long Island City