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MoMA’s 2015 Young Architects Winner Is A Giant Water Purifier

MoMA’s 2015 Young Architects Winner Is A Giant Water Purifier
[Images: courtesy of Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation]

The Museum of Modern Art has named Spanish Architect and his firm Office for Political Innovation winners of this year’s PS1 Young Architects Program. This summer, Jaque will take over the courtyard of the MoMA’s contemporary-leaning PS1 gallery with a giant water purifier dubbed COSMO.

COSMO is a movable structure made of custom water pipes designed to bring such an essential infrastructural component of city life to the forefront of public consciousness. The immense, conical pipe installation–shaped almost like a series of nuclear reactors–filters 3,000 gallons of water at a time.


As water flows through the pipes suspended over PS1’s courtyard, COSMO purifies and filters it. Plastic mesh at the installation’s core glows when the water purification cycle has been completed, a process that will take four days. The filtering system eliminates nitrates, increases the level of oxygen in the water, and balances the pH. Over the course of the summer, the cycle will repeat with same batch of water, making it progressively cleaner.

Based out of Madrid and NYC, the Office for Political Innovation is known for blurring the lines between art, architecture, and research. Jaque has a neon-tinged aesthetic that he incorporates everywhere from a modern home in Ibiza (pictured below) to a monastary. The firm’s experimental performance IKEA Disobedients premiered at MoMA PS1 in 2012.


MoMA PS1’s annual competition requires architects to come up with innovative, environmentally friendly temporary installations that provide shade, seating, and water during the museum’s summer music series, Warm Up. Last year’s winner transformed the outdoor courtyard space with a self-assembling mushroom tower.

According to Jaque, the COSMO system can be easily produced around the world to give people access to clean water. The installation opens at MoMA PS1 in late June.SF