MoMA PS1, Long Island City

MoMA PS1 | 22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46 Ave., Queens
NY 11101 Long Island City

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press release

NEW YORK, March 14, 2006: The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center announced today the selection of the New York City-based firm OBRA, led by Pablo Castro and Jennifer Lee, as the winner of the seventh annual MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program. The competition invites emerging architects to propose a building project for the courtyard of P.S.1 in Long Island City, Queens. The objective of the Young Architects Program is to identify and provide an outlet for emerging young talent in architecture, an ongoing mission of both MoMA and P.S.1. This year, five finalists selected from twenty-five portfolio submissions were instructed to transform P.S.1's outdoor courtyard with the allotted project budget of $70,000.

OBRA, the winning finalist, will realize BEATFUSE!, an installation that evokes a sense of interior space via seven curved, interconnected shells made of plywood and polypropylene mesh that ripple throughout the courtyard. The project also encompasses wooden tidal pools, water misters, and light strainers that create constantly changing shapes in the mist. Three outdoor spaces: a caldarium, a tepidarium, and a frigidarium, offer climactic comfort and variety through architecture. For example, the frigidarium, a small outdoor gallery, will provide respite from the summer heat through the use of foil bubble insulation and ice. As in past years, the project serves as the venue for Warm Up, the popular music series held annually in P.S.1's courtyard. The installation will be on view into September 2006.

In addition to OBRA, the finalists included Contemporary Architecture Practice (New York), Gnuform (Los Angeles), Howeler + Yoon (Boston, Massachusetts), and Sotamaa Architecture & Design (Columbus, Ohio). The proposed designs by the five finalists will be on view beginning June 22 in an exhibition at MoMA organized by Tina diCarlo, Assistant Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, at The Museum of Modern Art.

Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art, comments, "We are very pleased to collaborate again with P.S.1 on this annual journey to discover and present new architectural talent. The OBRA project will provide a distinctive summer ambience that is the ideal complement to P.S1's innovative programming."

"All of the proposals from the five finalists were extraordinarily seductive and beautifully presented. Choosing one became a daunting task," remarks P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss. "From above OBRA's winning design resembles a gigantic albino python curled up in the courtyard, and the interior makes me imagine being inside luminescent golf balls."

OBRA Principals, Pablo Castro and Jennifer Lee describe the installation: "No two New Yorkers are alike; everyone moves to a different beat. When the Warm Up DJs match tunes, beats fuse. Form follows tension and air is suffused with mist and light, as all dance under a penumbra of moiré."

SELECTION PROCESS For the Young Architects Program 2006 selection process, experts in the field of architecture, including architects, curators, academics, and magazine editors, nominated the finalists from a pool of twenty-five candidates that included both recent graduates and established architects experimenting with new styles or techniques. The five finalists presented proposals to a panel composed of Glenn D. Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art; Alanna Heiss, Director, P.S.1; Terence Riley, Philip Johnson Chief Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, P.S.1 and Curator, Department of Film and Media, The Museum of Modern Art; and Peter Reed, Senior Deputy Director, Curatorial Affairs, The Museum of Modern Art. Antoine Guerrero, Director of Exhibition Design and Installation at P.S.1 served as adviser.

This year marks the ninth summer that P.S.1 has hosted a combined architectural installation and music series in its outdoor galleries. The inaugural project was an architectural installation in 1998 by an Austrian collective, Gelatin. In 1999, Philip Johnson's DJ Pavilion celebrated the historic affiliation of P.S.1 and MoMA. The previous winners of the Young Architects Program are SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli (2000), ROY (2001), William E. Massie (2002), Tom Wiscombe / EMERGENT (2003), nARCHITECTS (2004), and Xefirotarch (2005).

OBRA OBRA Architects is a design-oriented office in New York founded by partners Pablo Castro and Jennifer Lee. As a growing firm dedicated to achieving design excellence and innovation, OBRA Architects has a strong background in the implementation of built work from conceptual inception on both large and small scales. OBRA was chosen to be included in a select group of 2005 Emerging Voices by the Architectural League of New York. Its first monograph of works was recently published by the United Asia Arts and Design Cooperation in conjunction with the Central Academy of Art and China Architecture and Building Press, Beijing, China as part of a series showcasing emerging architectural firms in the United States. Other honors and exhibitions include a 2004 show at the Rhode Island School of Design; the second prize for an invited competition for the Tittot Glass Art Museum in Taipei, Taiwan; winner in the UIA-sponsored international competition to design the Freedom Park Museum and Memorial in Pretoria, South Africa; as well the recipient of two American Architecture Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and design. More information can be found on the web at


OBRA Architects (Pablo Castro, Jennifer Lee)
The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 select OBRA as winner of the seventh annual MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program
Ort: P.S.1's Courtyard