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2017 City of Dreams Pavilion Competition Winner

March 13, 2017

A distinguished jury has selected the winning design in the seventh annual City of Dreams Pavilion Competition: Cast & Place by Team Aesop (Josh Draper from PrePost/RPI-CASE, Lisa Ramsburg and Powell Draper from Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Edward M. Segal from Hofstra University, and Max Dowd from Cooper Union). Pending approvals and fundraising, this temporary art structure will be assembled on Governors Island and open to the public for the summer 2017 season.

The annual competition is hosted by FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY). The City of Dreams Pavilion, so named for its focus on the future of a world that faces strains on both economic and natural resources, aims to promote sustainability-oriented thinking amidst the architecture and design communities, and requires designers to consider the environmental impact of their designs in everything from materials sourcing to disposal (or ideally reuse) of waste at the end of the season.

Cast & Place reimagines waste as a transformative resource for our New York City future. Soil dredged from the East River, the material also used in the construction of Governors Island, is laid out to dry and crack. 250,000 aluminum cans are melted down and poured into the cracked dredge. The results are light, strong panels that provide structure and shade, assembled into spaces for performance and play. Rain-soaked reflecting pools of dredge reveal the pavilion’s formwork as they dry and crack in the summer heat, inducing meditations on time, materiality, and the sources of our city.

Team Aesop will work with FIGMENT, ENYA, SEAoNY, and Governors Island to select the exact site for Cast & Place, refine the design, obtain necessary approvals, and fabricate and install the pavilion on the island.

The project has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the fabrication, installation, and maintenance of the pavilion on Governors Island for the 2017 summer season. Donations can be made by following the link here:

About the team

Josh Draper is a principal of PrePost and Clinical Professor at CASE/RPI. Josh’s current design research focuses on the potential of waste materials for advanced building systems.

Lisa Ramsburg is a designer for the New York office of Schlaich Bergermann Partner. Lisa graduated from University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a minor in Sustainability Studies.

Powell Draper is a structural engineer and Director of Operations for the New York office of Schlaich Bergermann Partner. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union.

Edward M. Segal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at Hofstra University. His work focuses on the analysis, design, testing, and optimization of structures constructed from unconventional building materials.

Max Dowd is an Architectural Designer working in New York City having graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture London and The Cooper Union.

About the Competition

FIGMENT has teamed with the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) to create the City of Dreams Pavilion competition to design and construct an architectural pavilion on Governors Island.

Former Pavilion Winners:
2010 – Living Pavilion by Ann Ha, Assoc. AIA, and Behrang Behin, Assoc. AIA
2011 – Burble Bup by The Bittertang Farm
2013 – Head in the Clouds by STUDIOKCA
2014 – Governors Cup by CDR Studio
2015 – Billion Oyster Pavilion by BanG Studio and Organic Growth by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects

Jurors for the 2017 City of Dreams Pavilion competition were as follows:
Enrique Norten, Hon. FAIA, Director/Founder, TEN Arquitectos; Henry Grosman, Principal, BanG studio (2015 City of Dreams Pavilion Winner, Billion Oyster Pavilion); Hector Orellana, Artist and owner, Fabklyn studio. CDR Studio Founding Partner Victoria Rospond, AIA, will serve as a design mentor to the winning design team.

The jury initially reviewed over 100 design proposal submissions and selected five finalists who each had a month to further develop their designs in response to the jury’s comments. The four additional finalists were as follows:

Runner up: MARL by knitknot architecture: Maria Esnaola, Gonzalo J. López, Alfonso Simelio (first phase team), Diana Cristóbal, Alicia Hernanz, Alexandre Malagelada, Tania Oramas (second phase team)

MARL celebrates Governors Island as the newest vibrant public space in NYC. Built using only local soil and recyclable earthbags, it will be a model for participatory and zero footprint construction. MARL will be a refuge from NYC summer and a great place to rest and play at the Island. Earthbag walls will provide shade and reflect sun heat, while curving walls will funnel wind through corridors and collective spaces. MARL is a Collectively Owned Public Space, in which engagement is encouraged. Thanks to its heavy walls and design, it will not just be looked at, but rather touched, climbed and stood upon.

Ventifact by Studio Spontaneity (Kat Chan, Hubert Chang, and Michael Signorile)
Born from construction debris, Ventifact addresses the city’s past and directs a future where the metropolis nurtures personal connections amongst inhabitants. Evocative of wind-sculpted sea caves and cliffs, it creates forms and voids that surprise and delight. Ventifact consists of three nested components: the Cloak, a shield opened to invite procession and unveil the Shell; the Shell, an enclosure for informal gatherings and events; and the Gem, an art installation inspired by the dynamism of nature. Ventifact celebrates conversations and experiences of life on the grassy retreat of Governor’s Island, creating a fleeting opportunity to explore an unexpected space.

Mille-Feuille by FY/D (Dimitris Venizelos, Grace Yu, Frank Zimmerman)

The constructed city regulates our routines, interactions, and perceptions. Its measured evolution, often directed by a few, establishes a rigid form incapable of meeting the needs of a diverse population. Repurposing the fabric of the City – parallel sheets of debris netting, hung from Manhattan scaffolding, Mille-Feuille imagines an urban framework that encourages communities to sculpt their own environment. Whether a large round is needed for a performance or a tight enclosure for contemplation, space responds to ones needs through touch. A performance piece, Mille-Feuille celebrates the imaginary city as a vessel for discovery, encounter and shared humanity.

Seed Cone Pavilion by DFA (Laith Sayigh, Judi Shade Monk, Sarah Jazmine Fugate, Dori Raskin, DK Park, Zhimin Zhang, Luke Gehron)

What if we could build a temporary structure that actually dissolved to leave a garden in its absence? The Seed Cone Pavilion is inspired by the cone of the Pitch Pine Tree native to Governor’s Island. We conceived a reusable, transportable structure that is recharged to restore indigenous plant life to any context in which it is placed. The Pavilion’s form easily accommodates varied programs and events such as musical performances and educational classes, in addition to providing simple, elegant shelter from sun, wind, and rain. The pavilion pays homage to the island’s history by leaving a planted footprint that grows, expands and blurs over time, contributing to the natural landscape, and supporting local insects and fauna for many seasons beyond Summer 2017.


FIGMENT catalyzes and celebrates an abundance of creativity and passion, challenging artists and our communities to find new ways to create, share, think, and dream. FIGMENT’s free annual participatory arts event began in New York City in 2007 and has expanded to include 10 events in cities around the US and now in Australia and Canada. In New York, FIGMENT hosts an annual summer-long exhibition on Governors Island that includes an interactive sculpture garden, an artist-designed minigolf course, a treehouse, and an architectural pavilion co-presented with ENYA and SEAoNY. For more information, visit

FIGMENT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization entirely funded by grants and individual donations. FIGMENT accepts no corporate sponsorship of any kind. FIGMENT NYC is supported by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, as well as by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

About the AIANY
Emerging New York Architects Committee 
It is the goal of the Emerging New York Architects Committee to encourage membership, participation, and leadership in the AIANY Chapter among intern architects, young architects (licensed 10 years or less), and emerging professionals in the fields of design and construction. The committee engages NYC’s diverse emerging design professionals through lectures, design competitions, and networking opportunities, with a focus on Professional Development, Design Excellence, and Public Outreach.

Founded in 1857, the AIA New York Chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The Chapter’s members include more than 5,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design. The AIA New York Chapter is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development.


SEAoNY is a member organization of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations. Presently, 39 states and the District of Columbia have structural engineers’ associations, the largest of which is SEAOC, Structural Engineers Association of California, which was founded in 1930 and presently has approximately 4000 members.

The association sponsors workshops, panel discussions, lectures and seminars with the aim of addressing topics of interest and concern to structural engineers. Our membership, which is over 500 members, includes individuals from most major structural engineering design firms in New York State. SEAoNY also reaches out to other professionals, outside the engineering community, who work in related fields with common interests. Currently, 10% of our membership are affiliate members who come from a variety of disciplines such as geotechnical, civil, construction management and architecture. The purpose of SEAoNY is to advance the art of structural engineering in New York by improving the flow of ideas and building the community of colleagues.


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