Architects keep their “Head in the Clouds”

New Yorkers throw away 53,780 plastic milk jugs and bottles each hour, according to Studio Klimoski Chang Architects (Studio KCA), the winners of the third annual City of Dreams Pavilion competition, held by non-profit participatory arts forum FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architect Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY). Their design, aptly titled “Head in the Clouds,” will be made of so many jugs and bottles. It is currently being assembled in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn and will be completed on Governors Island, where it will serve as a public pavilion this summer.


Rendering courtesy Studio KCA


Brooklyn-based Studio KCA, founded by Jason Klimoski, AIA, and Lesley Chang, designed Head in the Clouds with a structural armature of 1.5-inch aluminum tubes. Recycled, donated bottles and jugs are screwed onto plastic netting to form 120 “pillows” that give the installation its organic form. The designers added blue organic food coloring and water to some bottles to create a cool hue.


Rendering courtesy Studio KCA

Rendering courtesy Studio KCA


Recently, I volunteered for a Saturday to help assemble the pavilion beneath the archway of the Manhattan Bridge. I spent hours filling bottles with the blue mixture and screwing on caps. Many curious onlookers asked if we were making art; we replied yes—functional, inhabitable art. Volunteers are still needed through early June. Register here.

Jason Klimoski (left) and volunteers assemble the pavilion. Photo courtesy Jessica Sheridan.

The competition garnered nearly 200 design proposal submissions. Jurors included: Vicki Arbitrio, PE, Associate Partner, Gilsanz Murray Steficek; Kai-Uwe Bergmann, AIA, LEED AP, RIBA, MAA, Partner, BIG Bjarke Ingels Group; Marc Clemenceau Bailly, AIA, Partner, Gage / Clemenceau Architects; Marc Kushner, AIA, Co-founder, HWKN Architects; Michael Loverich, Partner, Bittertang, 2011 City of Dreams Pavilion designer; Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA, Editor-in-Chief, Oculus, ArchNewsNow. Ada Tolla, Int’l Assoc. AIA, partner at LOT-EK, acted as Pavilion Mentor.


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