Interboro Partners' installation Holding Pattern opens at MoMA PS1 on June 19 and continues through September 26.
You're putting up the canopy that will cover the MoMA PS1 courtyard tomorrow; what does that involve?
Tobias Armborst: It's rope and then nylon webbing, so there's one piece that goes across from the roof to the concrete wall. It's a wider piece (we call it the bridge) that holds all the ropes together. And then it's 38 ropes that are strung from the far wall through the bridge and up to the parapet. It looks a bit like a harp or a musical instrument and then on those ropes there will be sails, shading devices that you can actually retract.
Georgeen Theodore: And they're made out of a landscaping meshing and air passes through it but it creates this interesting pattern of shadow and light. It's also very cheap and can be used in parks afterwards.
The simplicity of the canopy seems to go well with the very practical, pragmatic programming beneath.
Tobias Armborst: It's really common sensical, you wonder why nobody did it before.
Georgeen Theodore: Yeah, a couple people have said: "Didn't someone think of that already?" These pieces are going to go out to other people who are going to decide what to do with them; there's a participatory component to it that makes the space of the museum much more public because now all of a sudden all of these groups that had never heard of MoMA PS1 or didn't care what was happening here can come and say "that's ours" and they're going to get it afterwards. So what we hope these different groups will come here and in a way make the space of the museum more public.
Daniel D'Oca: A lot of these trees are going to public schools and when we went to meet with the schools we talked to the principals and the maintenance staff, and often they'd bring kids along and the kids would get really excited. They got the idea immediately and they knew that they'd be able to come here and look at a tree and say, "That's our tree that's going to be in our playground." So we hope that this will make those kids come here.
So much of your project is based on what the community wants or needs; was there anything that you knew you wanted to do coming into this project?
Daniel D'Oca: In a lot of ways the grandest move, the canopy, is somewhat independent from the gifting process, so I would say that.
Tobias Armborst: But it was driven by the idea of keeping the ground open for these different programs, providing shade without being in people's way. I think that was sort of our starting point.
Daniel D'Oca: Well when we first started brainstorming we had this joke idea to tear down the concrete wall. It seemed so funny to us that there's this gigantic concrete wall around this museum. MoMA PS1 does a lot of great outreach in the neighborhood and local residents get in for free, but at a purely physical level that thing is kind of a big F-U to the neighbors. So on some level, and this might sound corny, this project really is about trying to make connections over the walls, in some ways.
Tobias Armborst: We also grew to like it; it's very nice concrete.
Georgeen Theodore: Of course we care about form, and we care about the shape of a space, but that's not the only thing that architecture needs to do. This is probably the most dramatic project we've ever done, formally.
Tobias Armborst: And it really is almost accidental. We're interested in places that are democratic. So the design of this is very much dependent on, firstly, what people want, and also we hope it will change a lot depending on what the program is. If there is Warm Up
the furniture will be arranged in one way, if there is a library reading it's going to be completely different.