Monday, August 1, 2011

BMW Guggenheim, A Nomadic Think Tank Community Center

If you ever needed more proof that we are at the brink of a major overhaul of the way we imagine the use of our cities, enter the BMW Guggenheim Lab which opened this weekend. It will actively engage in dialogue about urban futures as it travels from New York's Lower East Side to Berlin and then onward to 7 more cities in Asia. In addition to it's nomadic, temporary nature, we have to applaud the Lab for utilizing an undervalued plot of land and exploring a unique model for multimodal programming in a publicly accessible space.

A lightweight carbon fiber box truss designed by Atelier Bow-Wow serves as a "toolbox" fly loft from which a variety of elements can be lowered down to activate the open ground level space for a variety of programs including exhibitions, lectures, screenings, workshops and a cafe. It's an elegantly adaptable system for enabling an open ground-level space to be adapted for a variety of uses. And you have to admire the Lab for leading by example as it explores the issues of our urbanity through its own dynamic performance while creating a dialogue between citizens about the very issues on which it thrives. The exhibit above invites guests to participate in an urban planning simulation game! Even the logo is going to be participatory as it evolves with the input of visitors who suggest how they can improve their city.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Annette Diefenthaler for giving me the heads up in this unique experience her neighborhood and sharing these photos with us!

Oh, and I love the stop motion animations that illustrate the design intent and means of deployment for the Lab's construction and functionality in this beautiful video.