Escobedo Soliz to create "cloud of ropes" for MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program


Mexico City-based Escobedo Soliz Studio has won this year's MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program contest, with plans to create a colourful woven canopy and a paddling pool in the New York gallery's courtyard (+ slideshow).

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

For the 2016 edition of the YAP programme – which invites emerging architects to propose a temporary structure for the MoMA PS1 gallery – Lazbent Pavel Escobedo and Andres Solíz propose a site-specific installation entitled Weaving the Courtyard.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

The architects plan to use the existing holes in the courtyard's concrete walls, created when they were cast, as the framework for a woven canopy made up of brightly coloured rope.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

Billed as "a cloud of contrasting yet colourful ropes", the canopy will feature different amounts of density – offering varying degrees of shade. A wading pool will be located underneath, providing visitors with a cool place to escape the summer heat.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

Escobedo and Solíz claim the installation will be "neither an object nor a sculpture standing in the courtyard, but a series of simple, powerful actions that generate new and different atmospheres".

It will provide the backdrop for the gallery's summer music programme, known as the Warm Up sessions.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

All the materials used to build the installation will be largely unaltered by the construction process, so they can be reused when it is taken down at the end of the summer.

"This year's finalists of the Young Architects Program explored a range of approaches, materials, and scales to effectively question the MoMA PS1 courtyard as an arena for escape," said Sean Anderson, MoMA's associate curator of architecture and design.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

"Escobedo Solíz's ingenious proposal speaks to both the ephemerality of architectural imagery today but also to the nature of spatial transactions more broadly," he added. "From the evocative woven canopy that will engage visitors overhead to a reflective wading pool, Weaving the Courtyard sensitively brings together elements of MoMA PS1's Warm Up Series with an exuberant collection of zones and environments."

Escobedo Solíz Studio was selected for the projects from a shortlist of five finalists, also including Frida Escobedo, Ultramoderne, Cobalt Office and First Office.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

Opening in early June, Weaving the Courtyard will mark the 17th year of YAP, which began in 2000. Previous commissions for the programme include projects by HWKN, SO-IL and Andrés Jaque, who created last year's water filtration plant project.

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of MoMA PS1 and the 17th joint annual competition brought together by the Architecture and Design Department at MoMA and MoMA PS1," said MoMA PS1 Director Klaus Biesenbach.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio

"The Mexico City-based team will work on a colourful, celebratory intervention that takes its point of departure to be the existing geometric concrete forms in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 simultaneously creating an urban beach of sand, water, and vibrant colours."

YAP also now runs at other galleries around the world. Memorable editions include a field of mushroom-shaped inflatables at Korea's National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and a steel-framed pavilion at Constructo in Santiago, Chile.

Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio
Diagram – click for larger image
Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio
Site plan – click for larger image
Cloud of ropes by Escobedo Soliz Studio
Section – click for larger image
  • This is reminiscent. Feels a little like 2007.

  • TFO

    Interesting proposal…but basically a Gabriel Dawe sculpture. Hopefully they will engage the artist to collaborate or evolve the concept further prior to install.

  • Walt

    Really? A roof?

  • Singa

    Would need either very thick rope (model scaled up) or a lot of ropes to provide enough shading…

  • Durgen Jensen

    Rope installations like this are often underwhelming when actually built because rope doesn’t have a strong physical presence unless you use a lot of it.

  • whatever works to be published

    So, anything can work these days ha?

  • Square Cloud

    Glad to see ARCHITECTURE back at PS1!

  • Doubtful dodger


  • dfas

    I feel like these PS1 installations get worse every year. Either they need to get some more funding so that they can actually build bigger designs, or they should just cancel it.

    I would imagine most grad students have more interesting thesis projects than this.

  • joeyrobots

    This is so confusingly dull and subpar.

  • Archi-Nerd

    1) I don’t know how they’re going to get these “ropes” to remain taunt over such large expanses. The ropes will have to be pulled extremely tight. It’ll require engineered connections to the wall, and an engineer will have to make sure the walls can hold up under the tension.

    2) Despite this, I’m happy for them! It is inspiring to see that such young designers were chosen for such a prestigious exhibition. They’re going to get a lot of shade for being young and not having a large portfolio. However, their work is thoughtful and manages to avoid the trappings of current formal preoccupations in the field. Anyway, I’m sure whatever gets built will at the least be Instagram worthy, which is all MoMa really wants from this competition anyway. Congrats!