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Beyond design: architects consider future homes for oysters
Mar 30, 2015

Thoughtful, detail-oriented, conscientious design is what interior designers excel at, but BanG studio’s latest endeavor takes that idea even further. Its Billion Oyster Pavilion, a temporary structure for the summer that will later be repurposed to house oysters, was the winner of the FIGMENT “City of Dreams” Pavilion international design competition. Each summer, participants are asked to submit plans to create a temporary structure for the summer arts festival on New York’s Governors Island. The catch? The designs should  have as small an ecological footprint as possible.

Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan, the duo behind BanG studio.
FIGMENT, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating interactive art experiences, selected BanG’s design in partnership with the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee and the Structural Engineering Association of New York. Each summer on the island, the “City of Dreams” Pavilion competition aims to create a public space for arts and sustainability awareness through architecture and design.
The shape of the pavilion designed by BanG is inspired by that of an oyster. The curved form creates two public spaces, both of which are defined by “reef ball” walls and covered by a colorful woven canopy, which will create patterns on the ground and walls with its shadow. The larger, primary space allows visitors to enjoy performances during the arts festival either under the canopy, or standing outside the shelter and looking in through the spaces in the walls. Visitors can enter the structure either through the main entrance, or through the smaller secondary space. The secondary space is accessed through a narrow entryway that forces the viewer to closely interact with the textures of the built environment. It also provides a completely different view of the elements and scale of the structure, and creates a solitary environment amid what will be a thriving summer arts festival.

A rendering of what the Billion Oyster Pavilion will look like upon completion.
The Billion Oyster Pavilion will be part of an initiative to restore New York City waterways at the end of the summer. The New York Harbor School, a vocational school on Governors Island, will be donating the building materials for the pavilion. After it’s is dismantled, the school’s reef restoration classes will use all of the materials to repopulate the oysters around the island.

A section of the canopy. Images courtesy of BanG studio.
BanG incorporated the two components used in oyster restoration: oyster condos and reef balls. Both the condos and the balls are found in the structure’s dome and walls. Made of rebar triangles and woven marine line, the canopy top will also be reassembled as oyster condos after the pavilion is deconstructed. The walls have been designed to meet the conditions necessary to support oyster growth, maximize surface area and allow for water flow. The reef balls will be featured on the pavilion walls, created in two different sizes to allow for overlapping and a textured effect.

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