Roosevelt Island, NYC  /  2,800 sq.ft.   /  Public Pavilion  /  2019 / Concept

Roosevelt Island is historically an ominous and sinister site, whose primary purpose was to house prisons and hospitals. While this is its past, it does not dictate its future. Certain monuments on the island that were built during these darker times provide the foundation for our proposal. The Blackwell Lighthouse, built using convict labor and The Octagon which housed the NYC Insane Asylum are literal beacons of light within eye sight of our proposal. Their architectural presence creates a dialogue with our pavilion as they lay the foundation for a vision into the future through their physical manifestation of light, hope and innovation.

Our proposal, named Iris, is a formal expression of the function of the iris itself. The structure is composed of a circular array of dynamic panels which is the static representation of the opening and closing of the iris. Much like the iris of the body, our pavilion regulates the amount of light entering the structure. From above is an occuli, centered above a performing stage. From all other directions, the twisting, translucent panels provide different experiences depending on the vantage point, time of day and brightness of the sky.
On a visual level, we look to Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Taking direction directly from this natural phenomenon we made each panel a color of the rainbow. Due to the properties of the chosen material, as the colors overlaps, new colors are created that are unique to each individual user’s point of view.

Iris is both a literal and conceptual representation of a vision towards the future. It is publicly accessible on a cognitive and experiential level and a space where minds can meet to discuss, dream, and hypothesize about New York City’s future, all underneath the watchful eye of its past.