MoMA PS1 Beach Party!

Location Queens, New York

Client PS1 MoMA Young Architects Program

Status 2018 Concept Design

The beach is the original commons, a public space at the edge of city and ocean, open for all to enjoy. PS1 MoMA YAP offers the opportunity for a new interpretation of its courtyard as that original common - a public beach for playful recreation. With this in mind, we propose Beach Party! for the 20th edition of PS1 MoMA’s Warm Up.

Beach Party! is a timely response to local challenges that New York Beaches are facing. Indispensable in storm protection against rising sea levels, New York’s beaches struggle to maintain themselves naturally from continuous erosion. We wish to bring the joys of New York’s beaches, as well as the challenges they face, right into the heart of Queens. We make the architecture of Beach Party! by borrowing the familiar as a way to speak to the collective, to memory, and a common understanding. Beach Party borrows the four most familiar elements of New York’s coastal periphery to the museum in the urban center: sand, water, swings, and - of course - a bouncy ball.

At the opening of Beach Party, sand from Far Rockaway, Long Beach, Fire Island, Jamaica Bay, and Westhampton will form a striped groundscape, each distinguished by colors and textures unique to their original beaches. Over the course of the summer, the strips will mix and merge as visitors frolic in the sand, their communal play erasing divisions and creating an ever-changing sandscape. Suspended above these sands is a 160 foot long Group Hammock spanning between two beams and extending the full length of the museum’s courtyard. The two longer beams carry between them bright orange Hammocks made of recycled plastic - a nod towards ubiquitous beachfront construction fencing. An oversized Beach Ball bounces between the overhead beams. And lastly, the only element that sits on the ground, the Looped Pool cast from sand aggregates from all five beaches offers a 6” wading pool to cool off and experience the delight of water under the sun.

Whether ensconced in the Hammocks, dipping feet in the Looped Pool, rolling around the Beach Ball, or leaving notes for strangers in the iridescent dunes, revelers will enjoy a piece of New York’s oldest commons without leaving the city - their most relatable summer activity. By borrowing these elements, we seek to share the beach experience within the city. As New York braces against rising tides, we hope Beach Party! will be a timely, if ephemeral, reminder that we should never take one of its most precious public spaces for granted.

Kwong Von Glinow
Lap Chi Kwong
Alison Von Glinow
Eric Shichen Li
Chieh Chih Chiang