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Eco-Friendly Governors Island Pavilion Could Feature Milk Bottles or Goats

By Julie Shapiro | July 19, 2012 12:35pm

GOVERNORS ISLAND — A canopy made of empty milk bottles or discarded toilet paper tubes — or one made of plants that would be nibbled at by local goats — could be on the way to Governors Island next summer.

The FIGMENT arts festival just announced five finalists for next year's City of Dreams Pavilion, which will give one team of young architects a chance to build a fanciful, eco-friendly, interactive space on Governors Island.

"They're fantastic — five really interesting and different proposals," said David Koren, executive producer of FIGMENT. "We're excited about selecting a winner."

All of the designs found a way to use recycled or low-impact materials — from the empty milk and water bottles that would filter sunlight in "Head in the Clouds," by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, to the hundreds of toilet paper rolls that would form a curving canopy big enough to shelter 50 people in "The Enneper Pavilion," by Maria Mingallon.

Other finalists envisioned pavilions that offered very little shelter at all.

In "A cloud, in a Tree" by SAMPLES (Julien Boitard and Richard Nguyen), a canopy of repurposed sails would hang from a tree, blowing in the breeze and giving visitors a sense of being suspended in midair. After the project, the sails could be converted into ponchos and sold.

There would be nothing left of the pavilion at the end of the summer if the judges choose the "Fodder Form Pavilion" by HuycKurlanDowling (Teddy Huyck, Alexis Kurland and Conner Dowling). The trio hopes to build a pavilion that would start as a solid block of biodegradable plant starches and gradually be hollowed out by hungry goats or horses, until people could step inside of it. Eventually, the artwork would disappear altogether.

The last finalist is "For Rent" by MTWTHFSS (Ed Blumer and Pete Storey), a pavilion made entirely from rented materials that could be returned to the owners after the summer. The circular structure would be held aloft by a crane, and raised or lowered as needed depending on the event.

The finalists are now submitting more detailed versions of their plans, and a jury of local engineers and architects will select a winner by the end of September. The goal is to find a creative design that encourages visitors to the island to relax, interact and enjoy public art, Koren said.

Koren had initially hoped to build one of the pavilions on Governors Island this summer, but he decided it made more sense to have a longer design and fundraising process, and he also wanted to ensure FIGMENT had time to secure necessary Department of Buildings permits.

This will be FIGMENT's third City of Dreams Pavilion on Governors Island, following last year's "Burble Bup" and 2010's "Living Pavilion."