Each summer, an up-an-coming architect is given the chance to transform the outdoor courtyard at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City. This year it's David Benjamin's firm The Living, which was selected as the winner of the 15th annual Young Architects Program in New York.
The Living's concept is called Hy-Fi, a circular tower of organic bricks made from corn stalks and living root structures. Hi-Fy intervenes in the natural carbon cycle to produce a building that grows from and returns to the earth, with virtually no waste, no energy needs, and no carbon emissions.
The organic bricks, developed by Ecovative, will be arranged at the bottom of the structure. Above them are reflective bricks produced through the custom-forming of a new daylighting mirror film invented by 3M. The reflective bricks bounce light down on the towers and the ground. Thin and porous on the bottom, Hy-Fi will create a cool micro-climate in the summer by drawing in cool air at the bottom and pushing out hot air at the top.
"This year's YAP winning project bears no small feat. It is the first sizeable structure to claim near-zero carbon emissions in its construction process and, beyond recycling, it presents itself as being 100% compostable," said Pedro Gadanho, Curator in MoMA's Department of Architecture and Design. "Recurring to the latest developments in biotech, it reinvents the most basic component of architecture - the brick - as both a material of the future and a classic trigger for open-ended design possibilities."
Hy-Fi will open to provide shade, seating, and water for the 2014 Warm Up summer music series.