Friday, June 25, 2010

Public Playground 1

It's really moving! That's my first reaction when I walked towards PS1 and saw from the outside the swaying rods beyond the walls. When the renderings first came out, people started to question how much the poles can really move. As the design developed, SO-IL worked with structural engineer Buro Happold and decided to use windsurf tendon joints to allow maximum flexibility in all directions. It's exciting to see this really works and SO-IL has successfully delivered what they proposed within budget and schedule.

What SO-IL provided is a interactive instrument for people to play, rather than a finite form to look at. (Well, it is nice to look at too.) I saw people vigorously shaking the poles and causing waves on the net, taking their shoes off and jumping into the pool, or kicking balls in the sand pit as if on a beach. The indeterminate structure invites endless inventions of new games. Here, the architects have let loose the final product and become choreographers of situations, or literally, for pole dances.

In the smaller courtyard, the eight poles are equipped with accelerometers. The motions of the poles are measured and translated into tones specifically composed for the installation: rapid and shallow movements create locally oscillating tones, while large, tilting movements create ripples of sound throughout the courtyard. The installation engages the visitors to participate in rich sound experiments. And, there's also an app for that!

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