In February, The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 selected Andrés Jaque and his New York/Madrid–based practice, Office for Political Innovation, as winners of the annual Young Architects Program, or YAP. Now in its 16th year, YAP is an invited competition that challenges entrants to design a temporary outdoor installation for the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The installation must provide shade, seating, and water for the museum’s Warm Up summer music series—a season-long dance party—while also addressing environmental issues.
Jaque’s project is called COSMO. It is a moveable framework constructed of customized irrigation components that references the plumbing we all rely on in the modern world. More than a metaphor, the system of pipes is also engineered to filter and purify 3,000 gallons of water, eliminating suspended particles and nitrates, balancing PH, and increasing the level of dissolved oxygen. In four days’ time COSMO completes the purification process. It then continues to purify the same water, making it purer and purer every four days.
Jaque hopes that his installation will call attention to United Nations estimates that by 2025 two thirds of the global population will be without sufficient potable water. COSMO is intended as a prototype that can be easily reproduced around the world to deliver drinking water where it is needed most.
Jaque also designed COSMO with a biochemical element that causes a plastic mesh at the center of the structure to glow when its water has been purified. In PS1’s stone courtyard, this signal will light up the party, creating a lively atmosphere in which people can drink and get to know each other better.
“Last year Hy-Fi, a nearly zero carbon footprint construction by The Living, raised awareness of ecological and climate change,” said Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director and MoMA chief curator at large, in a statement. “This year COSMO continues to do so, addressing the issue of increasingly scarce water supplies worldwide in a successful and innovative way.”
The other finalists for this year’s YAP were brillhart architecture, Erin Besler, The Bittertang Farm, and Studio Benjamin Dillenburger. An exhibition of the five finalists’ proposed projects will be on view at MoMA over the summer.