Hanging Meadows by Aidan Doyle and Sarah Wan
In March, we announced that the National Trust for Historic Preservation would run a competition to reimagine the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, designed by architect Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair. The site, an iconic landmark along Grand Central Parkway, has been a popular site for urban explorers (as seen in photographs of the crumbling towers and of the pavilion itself). Steady community activism, including a documentary film has led to numerous local and national government initiatives over the past few years and the site has been opened up on occasion to the public.
Yesterday at the Queens Museum, the winners of the National Trust competition were announced and the designs will be on exhibit inside the museum until August 28th. The competition was meant to be visionary, to inspire in the public and government officials the possibilities of what the New York State Pavilion could become in the 21st century.
Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz, sponsored the ideas competition, which advocated an “anything goes” criteria. Judges included noted architecture critic Paul Goldberger, who said “The outpouring of new ideas for its re-use not only shows how beloved this structure is, it gives me confidence that this great building can have a future that will be as meaningful as its past.”
Three prizes were distributed, in addition to a Queens winner selected from entries by the borough’s residents. Here are the winners:
Perhaps the most visually stunning, we can see why “Hanging Meadows” by Aidan Doyle and Sarah Wan was selected. The futuristic greenhouse makes a strong contrast with the Modernist original Pavilion, futuristic for its time in the mid-20th century. The Pavilion becomes a base to a suspended natural environment, which would contain native plants and flowers from the northeastern United States. Suspended walkways would provide paths within the greenhouse structure and give views of New York City. Below the suspended garden, there would be a new planetarium and classroom space, which leaves room for open public access on the original floor of the structure.