‘A-nonymous to My-nonymous’ is about leveraging the potential of anonymous elements to create a memorable spatial experience. The project proposes to deploy a generic module in an undefined space to generate various modes of dynamic encounters.
The Highline, as an elevated urban park stretching over tens of blocks in the center of downtown Manhattan, served as a physical platform where different activities and events happen on top. We envision it more as a conceptual platform in which certain areas near and under the railway park could be seen as opportunities to amplify the positive urban impact the Highline has in terms of activating the neighborhood. The site displays all the characteristics suitable for exploring the possibilities of the ways in which the underside of the Highline could positively influence the urban experience. The impact of ‘A-nonymous to My-nonymous’ is therefore not limited to the physical boundaries of the site nor the temporal boundaries of the exhibition period; it extends to the larger urban region with a lasting resonance.
For us, the adjective ‘anonymous’ signifies not a lack of identity but rather the potential for multiple specific identities.
The proposed site is located right bellow the "High Line" at West 24 street in NYC which is the home of some of the most influential art galleries in the world. We wish the proposed project to be an extension of the art galleries activities by providing an outdoor exhibition space. The 3400 Sq. feet lot at 507 W. 24 street in Manhattan is positioned between 2 adjacent galleries on its sides and the "High line" from above.
The program set for this challenge is comprised of a 1200 sq. feet of exhibition structure/installation and 2200 sq. feet of open gathering/sitting area. The structure may have an interior space to it but could also be conceived as a sculptural object. The conception of lighting and sound are welcome and will be considered a plus for the project.
It starts with what seems to be an ‘anonymous’ unit: a small, porous, and rounded form of heterogeneous nature. The appearance of the unit resembles a pebble yet it is hard to clearly define exactly what it is; the units vary in shape, size, material and color. The anonymity of this unit, seen as analogous to the anonymity of the site, is perceived not as a problem but rather as an opportunity for the creative process to take place.
2,000 cubic modules -- each an aggregate of 180 interlinked ‘anonymous’ units of different sizes, colors, and patterns -- are positioned and stacked to create two step-like pavilions under the Highline. Some of the cubes are freestanding. Being able to be repositioned by visitors and organizers, these cubes serve different purposes depending on the needs; they could be used as steps, podiums, stools, pedestals, etc. The pavilion therefore is structural yet dynamic, and personal yet interactive.
The two step-like pavilions face one another, defining a semi-closed space under the Highline. Visitors can walk up the steps and spend time sitting on the upper tiers of the structure. From here, they can touch the underside of the structure or lean on the columns that support the Highline. They can also stay at the ground level and enjoy the exhibition. The walls of the pavilion that define the entrance passages to the inside act as vertical surfaces for hanging panels and images, while the repositionable cubes provide a horizontal platform for displaying 3-dimensional objects. This subtle interplay of rigidity and flexibility not only activates the underside of the Highline but also suggests a new idea of moving through the city.
Our proposal is literally 360,000 ‘anonymous’ units (plus the knots that tie the units into a cube). These units are fabricated and assembled to create cubes and the same cubes are used to create structure and space, thereby transforming the anonymity to peculiarity, generic to specific, mundane to extraordinary, and derelict to vibrant. The lively and colorful facade visible from both ends of the street block acts as a landmark and will naturally draw both locals and tourists to the pavilion.
What happens after the two weeks of exhibition? The genius of ‘A-nonymous to My-nonymous’ is not only in its simple constructability but also in the efficient deconstructability. We propose to disassemble the pavilions and distribute -- by sale and/or donation -- the 360,000 units to visitors after the exhibition period. The accumulated memories and experiences of the visitors to the pavilion will then be delivered from the space where the exhibition happened to anonymous individuals all over the world. What was originally an ‘anonymous’ unit is transformed into a very personal and special souvenir, so-called ‘my-nonymous’. The transformative energy of ‘A-nonymous to My-nonymous’ can be carried forth by using the funds raised through the sale of the units to support other initiatives that promote enriching human experience through the creative process.