Maria Nicano, the assistant curator of the Guggenheim, describes the lab as “an urban think-tank, community center, and a gathering space.” Each city’s lab will have a distinct theme and a unique structure, specially designed for its space. The lot in NYC is located on First Street, right off of Houston between First and Second Avenues. Atelier Bow-Wow created what they call “a traveling toolbox” made from carbon fiber. The lower part is described as a Mediterranean loggia, which will mostly be left open and act as a public plaza. Visitors will be able to enter from both sides creating a “cross pollination and user interaction.”
The box structure will hover above the plaza and its moveable parts — screens, lighting, shelves, seating — will be lowered and raised depending on what the plaza is being used for. The toolbox has all of the pieces to accommodate almost any type of event, from lectures and performances to gatherings and experiments. Small wooden structures placed outside the box will house restrooms and a cafe, creating an interesting juxtaposition between the features:
Whereas the main BMW Guggenheim Lab structure is forward-looking in its materiality and highly urban in its programmatic approach, the design of the restrooms and cafe references timeless timber construction that has been used in many settings, both rural and urban. Together, the wooden shelters and the main BMW Guggenheim Lab structure will form a temporary twenty-first-century ensemble that in each city will frame a particular urban void.
We’ll be counting down the days until the lab pops up, but we can’t help but wonder, what will happen to the empty lot when the art space moves on?