'Lumen' Opens at MoMA PS1

John Hill
28. June 2017
Photo: Pablo Enriquez

Four months after being selected as the winner of the 18th annual Young Architect's Program, Jenny Sabin Studio's Lumen opens at the Queens outpost of the Museum of Modern Art.

The annual program – a summer ritual that parallels the Serpentine Pavilion in London – gives a young architect the opportunity to build something practical yet experimental, occupying the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The functional considerations are straightforward: provide shade for visitors, many of them attending the museum's sweaty Warm Up concert series; provide a water feature; and provide some seating. These concerns become starting points for tangents into innovative materials, illustrations of infrastructure, or other areas of experimentation.

For Jenny Sabin, head of her eponymous studio based in Ithaca, New York, the installation offered the opportunity to explore innovative materials and digital fabrication. Her competition-winning Lumen is made of over one million yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber – "photo-luminescent and solar active yarns that absorb, collect, and deliver light," according to Sabin's website. During the day the installation appears white, but color is embedded in some of the knitted panels, a fact made most dramatic in the evening when the canopy is awash in color that is accentuated by special lighting.

Lumen is on view at MoMA PS1 from 29 June to 4 September 2017.

The canopy covers MoMA PS1's main triangular courtyard and a smaller adjacent courtyard. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)
At night the canopy is full of color, a fitting cover for the Warm Up concerts. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)
The canopy is supported by three steel masts (two in the main courtyard and one in the smaller courtyard) and tension rings, with the ends mounted to the concrete walls. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)
Fabric stalactites hang from the canopy to give visitors the opportunity to touch the material. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)
Beneath the canopy are 100 robotically woven recycled spool stools. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)
Although openings in each panel mean that shade is not total, the canopy is most rich at night when the photo-luminescent material glows. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)
Portions of the canopy incorporate a misting system that responds to visitors’ proximity to produce a refreshing micro-climate. (Photo: Pablo Enriquez)

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