Designed and built with an interdisciplinary team of engineers, architects, fabricators and artists, ‘Cast & Place’ was the winner of the 2017 City of Dreams Pavilion design competition focusing on sustainability in architecture and design. Located on Governors Island between Manhattan and Brooklyn, this project reimagined waste as a transformative resource for the future of New York City.
Excavated in Flushing, Queens, from glacial deposits, 5 tons of clay were left to dry and form a network of cracks, serving as a mold. The concept was to find a use for an amount of recycled aluminum equivalent to 300,000 beverage cans – the same amount consumed by New York City in one hour.
For the pavilion, recycled aluminum was melted and cast into the cracked clay, with the ultimate addition of cast aluminum ingots to ensure a consistent alloy. The results were light, strong panels. Mounted on a welded steel frame, the aluminum panels provided structure and shade, assembled into spaces for performance and play. Pools of clay on the ground next to the pavilion reveal the structure’s formwork, and as they dry and split in the summer heat after rain, the space induced meditation on time, materiality, and our evolving relationship to the resources of our city.
The pavilion was open to the public from June until August 2017 and then dismantled. Some panels were donated to supporting community groups and others were recycled.