New York - WENDY is an enigmatic curiosity, visible above the walls of PS1 from Jackson Avenue and from the 7 trains. Architects Matthias Hollwich and Mark Kushner’s (HKWN) high-tech, eco-friendly WENDY, is the winner of MOMA PS1’s thirteenth edition of the Young Architects Program. Chief Curator Barry Bergdoll described the Young Architects Program as, “a marriage of events, installations, architecture, music, performance and party.” WENDY is part of an international network of architecture programs, which includes the Maxi Museum in Rome where other finalists’ creations were inaugurated one week ago. Hollwich detailed to the press that the flexibility of MoMA PS1’s program, allowed HKWN to “become their own clients” and explore architecture’s limitless possibilities, and create something innovative to take to the public.
Named after the 60’s song “Windy” by the Association, Kushner expressed that they conceived of WENDY as “a kind of storm pushing at the boundaries of architecture; leaping past the typical restraints architects are taught to respect and push the limits to see what architecture could do in the city.” The cutting-edge aspect of WENDY is its function, which is ecological; it actually cleans the air around it. WENDY’s skin is covered in titanium nanoparticles that takes pollution like NO2 out of the air and turns it into neutral rainwater deposits will take the equivalent of 250 cars off the road this summer. HKWN partnered with Cristal Global, a lead manufacturer of specialty products, who supplied the WENDY’s eco-friendly skin.
This ecological aspect of WENDY is what makes the architecture so unique, because as Hollwich stated, “Normally architects’ buildings have a negative impact on the environment. WENDY is changing that around, it actually has a positive impact to the environment and makes our air cleaner.”
WENDY’s function is compelling as is the structure’s design- the blue fabric extending outwards resembles a chaotic explosion, she shoots water and mist, which spills over into MoMA PS1’s three courtyards. In order to construct WENDY, Hollwich described that HKWN chose scaffolding, “we had to find a structural system that was extremely cost effective and readily available in a short period of time. So we found scaffolding all over the city, and were inspired to use it as the base for the installment.” The scaffolding allowed WENDY’s skin to have the most surface possible, a crucial aspect, in order for the nanoparticles to be effective without being hit by the sun. The architects stretched the blue fabric from WENDY’s core all the way to the exterior to maximize the surface to clean the air. Kushner closed the artist’s talk with a remark on WENDY’s function, “its a really simple equation, more fabric equals more clean air.”
HKWN’s introduction of an ecological structure that filters air pollution is groundbreaking. WENDY is a revolutionary step for architecture, by changing how architecture impacts our environment, and is one that architects should take note of. HKWN are still a young architecture firm, but undoubtedly have the potential to become the next big players in New York’s architecture and design industry.
Archi & Design - Architecture
by Sara West | Friday, 29 June 2012