Public Horizon

What next for public space? Public Horizon, August 2011, a panoramic pavilion in lower Manhattan for imagining new civic spaces.

From pastures to pleasure grounds to protest sites, public space has changed with the modern city. It emerged as a desire for a society of free individuals, sharing experiences and conversations. But it can often be an afterthought, underfunded and over-restricted. Are existing notions of public space still useful, or what should we replace them with? How can we re-articulate common ground while celebrating our diversity in new ways? How can the activities imagined by urban parks be reconceived?

Public Horizon is a project commissioned by the Hudson Square Connection, a Business Improvement District, to activate the public square at the corner of Spring Street and 6th Avenue through a temporary installation. The square is well traveled by diverse crowds of workers, students, shoppers, tourists, and residents from around the city, but few spend time in the square or see it as a focal point in the neighborhood. The Hudson Square Connection initiated this project to create an infrastructure for compelling public activities, to celebrate the creative energy of the neighborhood, and build support for future development of public space at the site. The Urban Landscape Lab, led by Janette Kim and Erik Carver, designed a 360° cylindrical display device to allow for collective experiments within a panoramic environment.

Temporary Installations: Request for Proposals

To activate this structure, designers from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Barnard and Columbia Colleges Architecture Program were invited to create site specific-installations that would test out replacements for traditional public space. Designs offered speculations on the spatial and regulatory framework for collective communication, participation, leisure, access and expression. Members of a selection committee–Gavin Browning, Jeannie Kim, Geoff Manaugh and Felicity Scott–chose four winning schemes from 30 entries submitted in a fast-tracked Request for Proposals process.

The four winning proposals are:
All proposals will be exhibited at Studio-X New York in October (see below).

Public Space 2.0
Irene Cheng, Brett Snyder, and Jesse Ganes
A public forum for discussion about regulations over public spaces in New York City.

The Ubiquitous Public
David Zhai and Simon McGown
A network of multiple publics and spaces linked by live webcams.

Collected Soundscape
Trent Letcho and team Arup (Raymond Quinn, Cesar Sanchez, David Rife, Mike Skinner, and Phil Carter)
An urban sound experience that engages the listener by re-contextualizing familiar sounds in an unexpected location.

The Old Social Media
Jordan Carver
A public letter writing initiative to tell your elected officials exactly what’s on your mind.

Design proposals were created by:

Dan Taeyoung Lee, Austin Smith

El(EmEn)TaL MaNHaT(Ta)N
Richard Pieper

End Game
John Szot, Jennifer Chang

Hologram Democracy
Jocelyn Oppenheim, Ken Farmer

Holy Moses
Jake Matatyaou, Momo Araki, Kyle Hovenkotter, trevor Lamphier, Luisa Mendez

Horizon Expanded
Vasilopoulou Paraskevi, Fanou Paraskevi, Avramopoulou Sophia, Papaemmanuel Dafne

I Love NY Garbage
Severino Alfonso, Sebastian Grogaard, Michele Bruno, Michelle Pereira Rivera

Let’s Meet, No Screen
Paul Tse, Steven Tsai, Xander Shih-hah Lu

Mindscape Lab
Mazdak Jafarian, Frederic Levrat, Malika Yapa

Alexandra Gonzalez, Anna Gabriela Callejas, Carlos Osorio

Panorama Web Field
Da Yeon Kim, Eunki Kang

Park (The Final Frontier)
Teel Lassiter, Omar Morales-Armstrong

Pixel by Pixel
Dmitri Kim

Pliant Trajectory
Evan Bauer, Keith Kelly, Rachel McCaslin

Post Your Bills
Rachel Barnard, Michael Blancato, Bernardo Garcia, Pey Lung

The Rider
Roula Salamoun , Bruno Zalum

Show Me Your Weiner!
Cody Zalk, Rodrigo Zamora

Maya Rafih, Katherine Malishewsky

Tahrir Square in New York
Craig Konyk

Team YZ
Amirali Merati

Mark Collins, Toru Hasegawa

Alejandra Navarrete Llopis Carlos Minguez Carrasco Marcos Zotes-Lopez

To see the original call for proposals, see here.

Studio-X Exhibition

We exhibited all design proposals for the Public Horizon installation as mini-panoramas at Studio-X in conjunction with Open House New York.

Temporary Structure

Public Horizon is a temporary, open-air panorama that unfurls possible images of public space into the outdoor space of downtown Manhattan. Visitors are invited to view the panorama while lounging on new furniture pieces which augment the function of existing park benches.

About the Organizers

• Project Sponsors: The Hudson Square Connection
The Hudson Square Connection’s mission is to put Hudson Square on the map by capturing the spirit of innovation that is thriving in the buildings and to bring that energy and creativity into the public realm. By enlivening the streets, and creating a green connected and environmentally sustainable community we will address the neighborhood’s most pressing issues. We are developing a comprehensive streetscape improvement plan to provide us with creative solutions to better manage traffic, create more and more usable open space and green our streets. By transforming our sidewalks into a pedestrian-friendly environment while at the same time increasing open space, we plan to strengthen the connection between the street, retail and other ground-floor activities.

• Institutional Partners: Studio-X

• Project Organizers: Erik Carver and Janette Kim, Director, Urban Landscape Lab

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