O’Donnell’s Party Wall wins MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program competition

January 24, 2013

CORNELL CHRONICLE — Using sustainable materials from an Ithaca skateboard company, Party Wall — a pavilion designed by assistant professor of architecture Caroline O’Donnell — will keep visitors cool this summer at events in Long Island City.

The steel and wood pavilion design, submitted by O’Donnell’s firm CODA, was chosen from among five finalists in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)/PS1’s 14th annual Young Architects Program (YAP).

Opening to the public in late June at Warm Up, PS1’s annual outdoor performance series in Long Island City, the YAP pavilion will provide shade, and pools of water will have a cooling effect, O’Donnell says. Stages will be arranged at the base of the structure; polyester pillows filled with water and suspended within the steel framework provide ballast. 

Comet Skateboards of Ithaca donated scrap materials for the project. The wood that Comet uses in its skateboards is sourced from sustainably managed forests.

“CODA’s proposal was selected because of its clever identification and use of locally available resources — the waste products of skateboard-making — to make an impactful and poetic architectural statement within MoMA PS1′s courtyard,” said Pedro Gadanho, curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design.

O’Donnell, who holds the Richard Meier Professorship of Architecture, was originally nominated by AAP Dean Kent Kleinman to be one of 25 architects and designers selected to submit a portfolio and statement to MoMA. O’Donnell worked on the project with Cornell architecture students, teaching associates, and alumni; with contributions from the Cornell Materials Lab, several consultants, project partners, and AAP colleagues.

“We are very experienced with competitions, so the research and design phase, although intense, was relatively smooth,” O’Donnell says. “Our biggest challenge was having to contact suppliers, fabricators, and contractors in order to put together a solid budget and construction plan in such a short time. We were fortunate in finding Comet Skateboards and Banker Steel who have been great supporters of the project since our first conversations.”

The design team included Cornell teaching associates Suzanne Lettieri (M.Arch. ’12), the team leader; Steven Clipp (B.Arch. ’10); Michael Jefferson (M.Arch. ’12); Yeung Shin (B.Arch. ’12); and Jessica Tranquada (B.Arch. ’12); alumnus Nathan Friedman (B.Arch. ’09); alumni/current staff Jerry Lai (M.Arch. ’12) and Daniel Salomon (B.Arch. ’12); and Juanito Olivarria of California Polytechnic State.

Students on the team were Lucas Greco (M.Arch. ’15) and Siobhan Lee (M.Arch. ’15); Joseph Kennedy (B.Arch. ’15) and Gabriel Salvatierra (B.Arch. ’15); Christopher Ray (M.Arch. ’14); Noah Ives (M.Arch. ’13) and Jessica Levine (M.Arch. ’13); Giffen Ott (B.Arch. ’13) and Rachel Tan (B.Arch. ’13); and Le Luo (B.S. HAUD ’13).

“I was impressed by the creativity and the work ethic of the Cornell team,” O’Donnell said. “I think we all learned a lot through this experience.”

By Dan Aloi

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