The New York CityVision competition posed the question: “If the future is gone, what past is expecting us?” Sponsored by Rome-based architecture journal and laboratory CityVision, the competition aimed to find links between our past, present, and future cities. The winners of the 2012 competition speculated on possible futures for New York while commenting on the effects of today’s development with a mix of humor, anxiety, and a bit of eccentricity.
In first place is the team of Eirini Giannakopoulou, Stefano Carera, Hilario Isola, and Matteo Norzi, whose project envisions infilling Manhattan island with refuse. Having been overwhelmingly densified, the population of Manhattan has relocated to the outer boroughs. Seeking energy independence and a sustainable solution to waste control, the city turns Manhattan into a landfill from which it can harness energy. A new landscape of rolling hills transforms the skyline of Manhattan as the peaks of skyscrapers puncture the ground and provide access to a network of underground circulation.
Second place goes to Enrico Pieraccioli and Claudio Granato, who envisage Manhattan as an archaeological site surrounded by massive containing walls that hold back the rising sea (see top image). The team describes development of the modern cosmopolis as having a double image—the anxiety and danger of its inevitable failure. Creation and destruction go hand-in-hand, repeating endlessly. New York’s creation leads to its demise, as its development forces the sea to rise. The designers propose to entomb Manhattan in a state of near-destruction, serving as a monument to the twentieth century industrial paradigm.
Miles Fujiki received the special Farm Prize (judged by Andrea Bartoli of Farm Cultural Park) for his Institute for Imagining New York. The project calls for a building that resists the exploitation of space by profit-driven development. “It is not a reliquary but a reactor core,” Fujiki wrote; it is a space for remembering the city, where visitors encounter the city through archives, social interaction, and filtered atmospheres that permeate the building’s porous walls. Imagination here becomes a mode of producing the environment, as histories intersect futures and realities mix with alternatives.
The jury was made up of president Joshua Prince-Ramus (REX NY), Eva Franch i Gilabert (Storefront for Art and Architecture), Roland Snooks (Kokkugia), Shohei Shigematsu (OMA NY), Alessandro Orsini (Architensions), and Mitchell Joachim (Terreform One). Check out a few of the Honorable Mentions in the gallery below.