When Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner got a phone call saying their design had won MoMA’s annual Young Architects Program (a competition to build an outdoor partyscape for its PS1 location in Queens), they had the same reaction almost every architect feels after winning a major competition: “Now how do we build it?”
Hollwich and Kushner, principals of New York architecture office HWKN, had proposed the most ambitious structure in the 13-year history of MoMA’s program. Their design called for a massive framework of scaffolding to support 1,555 square yards of a high-tech fabric coated in a chemical solution of Titania Nanoparticles, which neutralize airborne toxins. Their goal was to get as much of the pollution-scrubbing fabric onto the site as possible, so after a protracted research phase they settled on a surface-area-maximizing starburst shape. The arms of the structure would conceal fans, a DJ booth, and water cannons to cool the partiers in PS1’s courtyard. They named the design Wendy.
“There are always technical challenges bringing a project off the drawing board and into real life,” says Kushner, and it quickly became clear that building Wendy would require a little extra help. "The process was all about finding the right collaborators who were actually excited," comments lead project designer Adam Hostetler. "Then things fell into place very quickly." Supporters like Pureti and Big Ass Fans chipped in for supplies, while HWKN enlisted friends from the graphic design world to create Wendy merchandise, the sale of which would help fund her construction.
That was back in March. Today, the office has officially unveiled MeetWendy.com, where fans can buy T-shirts and tote bags decorated with illustrations of Wendy by 2x4, Pentagram, and Bruce Mau Design. All of the items are coated with solution of titania nanoparticles that neutralize pollution, which means that while you’re portaging that six pack to the park, you’re also cleaning the air around you.
The campaign website is here. Wendy will arrive in Queens on June 28th.