New York. 40-year-old metal silos reused as contemporary spolia

‘Oculi’ by Austin + Mergold is the winning proposal of The City of Dreams Pavilion: a reminiscence of the American agro-industrial age.

Oculi, Austin + Mergold LLC, Governors Island, New York, USA, 2018

Austin + Mergold won this year’s edition of The City of Dreams Pavilion, an architectural pavilion competition hosted by Figment arts event, with their proposal ‘Oculi’. The project sits on Governors Island where it will be removed at the end of summer; the metal elements will be constructed again in Central New York as an experimental housing cluster.

The 40-year-old grain bins were procured from a farm in Ohio, they have then been de-constructed, painted and assembled so to become suspended elements over the visitors’ heads. The shades of blue paint reproduce the colours of New York’s summer sky. Such structures can be easily found in the US landscapes as they represent the country’s recurrent food production networks. As artefacts of the American agro-industial age, Austin+Mergold, together with artist Maria Park, considered them as contemporary spolia reminiscing of the last century’s history; the design of the installation represents a connection between urban and rural life. The title refers to the Pantheon in Rome as the reconstructed bins open up to the sky and, at the same time, produce a range of shadows on the ground.

Governors Island, New York, USA
Austin + Mergold LLC
Design Team:
Aleksandr Mergold, Maria Park, Christopher Earls, Scott Hughes, Jason Austin
Glenn Miller, Ben Malone, Bill Haines
Students involved in the construction:
Curtis Ho, Kate Huffman, Eric Lee, Libby Rosa, Anna Warfield, Emma Boudreau, Sarah Bujnowski, Isabel Branas, Vaharan Elavia, Ami Kurosaki, Jason Lin, Xiaoxue Ma, Hafsa Muhammad, Sasson Rafailov, Jiacheng Xu
David Koren, Josette Matthew, Jessica Sheridan, Ryan Miller
Organizations and companies:
FIGMENT, Trust for Governors Island, AIA New York Chapter, ENYA, SEAoNY, Cornell University, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Department of Art, Department of Architecture College of Engineering, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Atkore International / Unistrut, Silman

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