b9 lab at work

This winter, the B9 team spent a portion of our time to focus on the b9Lab aspect of the practice. The b9 Lab was established to explore our interests in architecture, research new materials and building methods, and allow us opportunities to participate in design competitions. The Folly Competition was an exploration of the intersection between architecture and sculpture and the increasing overlaps in reference and concepts between the two disciplines. As the name of the competition suggests, a folly stands between the two disciplines and it is the task to give our interpretation of a folly for the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York (Sponsored by The Architectural League of New York).  The winner(s) of the competition will be given a $5000 production grant towards realizing the project.

Read more on the Folly competition, Socrates Sculpture and the Architectural League here.

Our competition entry:

What is the current condition of the architectural folly? In a cultural climate so infatuated with imagery and distraction, we can easily imagine the folly as the most fashionable form of architecture; a glossy image, a recent post, a quickly forgotten snippet. In the constructed object, however, we find a different set of values. We can pause at the folly. We can slow down. We can consider the folly as a landmark in our way that disrupts our frantic pursuits.

Lobby is conceived as a disruptive landmark, a threshold between the park and the city. Positioned at the entrance to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, NY, the proposal pulls visitors through its’ porous edges and separates the experience of the city from the experience of the sculpture park. Inside this folly, space is condensed and the experience is intimated. You can hear the feet of the person just across the aisle. Shadows are cast on flowing walls of fabric. The typical elements of construction are stripped of their solidity and allowed to flap in the wind, open up to the sunlight, and cast unexpected shadows.

 Site Plan

Site Plan

 View of Lobby from park entry

View of Lobby from park entry

 Sitting on a platform in the Lobby

Sitting on a platform in the Lobby

 View at night with light at the heart of the Lobby

View at night with light at the heart of the Lobby

 Section through Lobby

Section through Lobby

Lobby is practical and achievable. Standard materials and methods of construction are applied in unusual ways. Our palette is a simple one: dimensional lumber (2×2 and 2×4), steel connectors, plywood, paint and fabric.

 

Lobby is flexible and adaptable. The construction of our proposal is based on a system of modules that derive from the dimensions of our material. This system can be reordered to accommodate a variety of unexpected challenges and opportunities. This could also mean that elements of the folly begin to spread into other areas of the sculpture park.

Lobby provides a memorable relief valve for the visitor.

 View of path into the Lobby

View of path into the Lobby

 View to the park from the Lobby

View to the park from the Lobby

There were over 200 entries for the competition and although our entry was not selected, we will be exploring future ways to realize our Folly | Lobby.

Stay tuned for more b9 Lab projects in the future.