Oculi: Governors Island Installation
Oculi, the winner of the 2018 City of Dreams competition, is an interdisciplinary exhibition crafted of disused grain silos. The installation opens on Governors Island during the annual Figment event on June 23–24, and will be in place through the fall.
Named for the shape of the dominant material, Oculi features several circular metal grain bins, remnants of the American agro-industrial age. The bins, which were procured from the Northeast and Ohio, were fabricated and painted in Ithaca before being brought to the city, establishing a visual connection between urban and rural modes of living. The installed field of elevated "oculi" will frame unobstructed views of the sky and track the path of the sun.
Oculi was created by architecture's Assistant Professor Aleksandr Mergold (B.Arch. '00) and Jason Austin (B.Arch. '00) of Austin+Mergold (A+M); Associate Professor Maria Park, art; Professor Chris Earls, civil and environmental engineering; and Scott Hughes, principal at Silman Structural Engineers and a visiting lecturer at AAP NYC. Unistrut Metal Framing System, a part of Atkore International, donated the steel for the structure, including all the struts and hardware.
Figment is a free participatory arts event that celebrates creativity by challenging artists and participants to find new ways to create, share, and dream. For one weekend each summer the event transforms Governors Island into a large-scale collaborative artwork.
City of Dreams focuses on the future of a world that is faced with depleted economic and natural resources. The annual competition aims to promote sustainability-minded thinking in architecture and design and requires contestants to consider the environmental impact of their design from construction to demolition. The finished pavilion is a place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, and experience how art interacts with the historical context of Governors Island. City of Dreams is hosted by Figment, the Emerging New York Architects Committee of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, and the Structural Engineers Association of New York.