The Billion Oyster Pavilion
Every year, FIGMENT NY brings site-specific participatory art to Governors Island as part of a one week festival. As part of this, the FIGMENT City of Dreams competition asks architects and designers to propose a pavilion incorporating recycled or recyclable materials, addressing an concept for the ideal city. Last year, the grand prize went to the Governors Cup, an amazing installation of 30,000 plastic cups developed by CDR Studio. This year, the Billion Oyster Pavilion, a project from BanG Studio, has been selected. Using materials that will be repurposed for oyster habitats in New York’s waterways, Billion Oyster Pavilion will consist of 250 custom-designed reef balls and a woven canopy that would be turned into “Oyster Condos,” metal cages that would be filled with old oyster shells and other various types of marine life.
But winning the award doesn’t mean that the project will come to fruition, and the studio has turned to Kickstarter to make their project a reality. As the architects of BanG Studio, Babak Bryan and Henry Grosman, Columbia University-trained architects whom we featured for their work in Sukkah City in 2010, write in their Kickstarter to fund the pavilion, “the Billion Oyster Pavilion will make the important work being done by the Harbor School visible and tangible for hundreds of thousands of visitors.”
Billion Oyster Pavilion Reef Balls
Difficult to imagine today, but in the early 1600s there were over 200,000 acres of oyster reefs in New York Harbor. By the 1900s, toxicity levels in the water led to the disintegration the habitats. By 1906, the last oyster had vanished. Today, through concerted environmental efforts, water conditions can now support oysters again. The Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is a long-term, large-scale plan to restore one billion live oysters and 100 acres of oyster reefs to New York Harbor by 2030. Although a temporary contribution, the Billion Oyster Pavilion would a visible step, particularly for the public, in this restoration project.
Using 3D printing, the Billion Oyster Pavilion has produced prototypes of the reef balls, while the “Oyster Condos” are made of welded rebar triangles. The canopy will be a web, interconnecting 400 rebar triangles using marine line to be selected for not only physical properties but for “awesome color.” Add of course, after the FIGMENT NY is over this year, Billion Oyster Pavilion will live on somewhere in the New York City waterways.
Help make Billion Oyster Pavilion a reality by supporting the Kickstarter campaign here.
This article written by Jordan Simon and Michelle Young. The City of Dreams Competition is organized by the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA), the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) and FIGMENT NY.