The Future Of Architecture? Soft, Adaptive, And Very Wet

Every year, MoMA selects a winner for its Young Architects Program, aimed at encouraging new forms of architecture. 2017’s winner is Jenny Sabin’s Ithaca, New York-based studio for her project Lumen, a canopy-like structure that will be installed at MoMA PS1 in Queens this summer.

The latticework canopy reacts to its environment. Made of recycled textiles that absorb daylight and dangling pieces of fabric that release mist based on the heat and the density of the crowd, the structure offers both shade from the sun during the day and lighting at night. The installation also provides water and seating for the museum’s outdoor summer music series Warm Up. It will be on view from June 27 through the rest of the summer.

Sabin and the four other finalists for the competition, Ania Jaworska, Bureau Spectacular, Office of III, and SCHAUM/SHIEH, all addressed a brief focused on sustainability and recycling. The finalists’ work will also be on display at MoMA PS1 this summer.

Last year’s winning installation was a brightly colored woven canopy across PS1’s outdoor courtyard by Mexico City-based Escobedo Soliz Studio. 2015’s was a giant water purifier, by the Spanish architect Andrés Jaque.

Buildings that adapt to their environment have been talked about for years; they are often hailed as the future of architecture. But convincing clients to invest in largely experimental methods remains a significant obstacle. When Sabin’s installation is installed this summer, it’ll be a small but meaningful step toward that future.KS