Sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art and the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, the Young Architects Program is an annual competition, established in 2000, that gives emerging architects the opportunity to build projects conceived for PS1’s outdoor courtyard in Long Island City. The challenge for each year’s winner is to design a temporary, outdoor installation that enhances a visitor’s comfort during the hot New York summers and provides a center for cultural events.
In 2012, a team led by HWKN won the competition with the star-like pavilion, Wendy. Wendy fulfilled the requirements of quick construction and no waste from disassembly. Within a few months and the narrow budget, Wendy was planned and built. Wendy is composed of a nylon fabric treated with a titanium oxide nanoparticle spray that decomposes nitrogen oxides, thus neutralizing airborne pollutants. This catalytic process is passively driven solely by solar irradiation. During the summer of 2012, Wendy cleaned a quantity of air equivalent to taking 260 cars off the road.
The visitors are greeted with a cool welcome created from shady spaces and water basins. Inside, fans in combination with evaporative cooling generate cool air which exits from the sides and bottom, significantly increasing outdoor comfort. Several of Wendy’s points are equipped with waterjets which will occasionally provide an unexpected cooling shower.