Sabin's Lumen Wins MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Competition

February 16, 2017

Jenny Sabin's knitted installation crafted out of responsive tubular fabric structures is the winning entry in the 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architect's Program competition.

Lumen was selected from five finalists and will be constructed in the entrance courtyard of PS1 in Long Island City this summer. The pavilion will act as a shelter, meeting place, and cooling station during the summer months.

"It's an environmentally and socially responsive system," says Sabin, who is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Architecture. "At night, Lumen will light up using photo-luminescent and solar active yarns that absorb, collect, and deliver light." During daylight hours, a built-in misting system will respond to heat and body density to cool visitors. The structure is made from digitally knitted and robotically woven lightweight, high-performing, and adaptive materials.

Sabin's studio, Jenny Sabin Studio, was one of 50 firms nominated to submit an entry to the competition. Only nominated architects and designers are allowed to enter, and the winner is selected by a panel including Glenn D. Lowry, director of MoMA; Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1 and chief curator at large; and Sean Anderson, associate curator of architecture, among others.

"Jenny Sabin's catalytic immersive environment . . . captured the jury's attention for imaginatively merging public and private spaces," says Anderson. "With innovative construction and design processes borne from a critical merging of technology and nature to precise attention to detail at every scale, Lumen will no doubt engage visitors from day to night in a series of graduated environments and experiences."

Sabin's win follows that of Caroline O'Donnell, the Edgar A. Tafel Assistant Professor and director of the M.Arch. program, in 2013 for her Party Wall pavilion.

"I am enormously proud that Jenny was selected as this year’s MoMA PS1 Young Architect’s Program winner," says Kent Kleinman, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP. "This international competition is one of the most hotly contested and important events in the field. It is an enormous honor that two Cornell architecture faculty members have been selected winners in the past five years. Jenny’s project, like Caroline's three years ago, will be utterly astonishing."

Lumen "takes risks through collaboration across disciplines," says Sabin, "applying insights and theories from biology, materials science, mathematics, and engineering." Lumen was created by Jenny Sabin Studio with input from Sabin Design Lab. Cornell students and alumni participating in the project's creation include Jordan Berta (M.Arch. '16), Diego Garcia Blanco (M.Arch. '20), Andres Gutierrez (B.Arch. '15), Jingyang (Leo) Liu (M.Arch. '15, M.S. '20), Mark Lien (M.Arch. '19), Jasmine Liu '18, Andrew Moorman (B.Arch. '17), Christopher Morse (M.Arch. '17), Dillon Pranger (M.Arch. '15), and Cole Skaggs (B.Arch. '16). Sabin also worked closely with the design and engineering firm Arup and their structural engineer Clayton Binkley on refining the structure.

Now in its 18th edition, the Young Architects Program at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has offered emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects, challenging each year’s winners to develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling.

The official opening of the Lumen will take place on June 27.

By Rebecca Bowes

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