Client: American Institute of Architects New York / Structural Engineers Association of New York / Figment
Location: New York City, NY, United States
Completion date: 2013
American Institute of Architects New York
Structural Association of Engineers of New York
Made of 53,780 recycled plastic bottles – the amount, thrown away in New York City in 1 hour – it is a space where visitors can enter into and contemplate the light and color filtering through the 'cloud' from the inside, out.
Selected from over 200 submissions as the winning proposal to a design competition organized by American Institute of Architects New York, Structural Engineers Association of New York, and the arts organization Figment, 'Head in the Clouds' on New York City's Governors Island comes out of the desire to create a 'place to dream in the city of dreams'. A series of 'pillows' made from 1 gallon jugs form the exterior, while 16 and 24 ounce water bottles line the interior. A curved aluminum diagrid frame provides structural integrity and creates a small seating/dreaming area for 50 people at the base. Water bottles were filled with varying amounts of water and organic blue food coloring to provide ballast so that no foundation was needed
The team collected used empty plastic bottles from organizations, businesses, schools, and individuals throughout New York City and beyond, then re-purposed the bottles to construct the pavilion. More than 200 volunteers from the arts, architectural, and community at large helped build and assemble the pavilion.
All of the building components can be easily broken down and transported- including a lightweight aluminum diagrid- a simple way to provide structural integrity without relying on heavy steel beams, or larger support systems. Rather than rely on high-tech fabrication techniques to turn the bottles and aluminum into cladding and structure, the design team created a simple, repetitive, cost-effective system of connections, in order to quickly and easily assemble this free, public structure.