It may be called the ONE Prize Awards, but there were two first-prize winners this year in a competition to design a new educational facility at The Brooklyn Navy Yard. The frontrunners — one a Lucent Cube and the other a Self Growing Lab made of living bacteria —  won for their innovative designs for the “Smart Dock,” which will inhabit the Navy Yard’s new Building 128. The ONE LAB jury couldn’t choose a clear winner of the award, because the designs complemented each other so well, and some jury members are even suggesting that the two be merged. Read on for a glimpse at the winning concepts.


Lucent Cube Map

ONE LAB, a design and science educational program and non-profit located within the Navy Yard, will be utilizing Building 128. The first winner, The Lucent Cube by designers Yun Wan, Silvia Lopez and Balazs Fekete of the United Kingdom, was selected for its simple elegance and functionality. Its easily transitioning polycarbonate floating “box” with soft, moveable partitions would maximize open space for lectures and exhibitions and allow for individual workshops. Its suspended design is a direct historical tribute to the navy ships that once hung from the gantries. The ethereal translucent structure would be topped with a lush roof garden, serving as a tool for ONE LAB’s biological research as well as a recreation area for visitors.

Self Growing Lab Interior

The other winner, Self Growing Lab by artists Victor Diaz, Ariel Santiago, Carlos Garcia, Danniely Staback and Nestor Lebronis of Puerto Rico, was chosen for its impressive scientific and technological originality. The concept allows for — you guessed it –the building’s own self-growth. Using a bacteria manufactured material, hopefully produced by ONE LAB itself, the alien-esque structure would be genetically formulated to control its own density, rigidness and transparency. A complex solar harvesting system of sensors for data retrieval and genetic manipulation of its living shell would allow Building 128 to be a continuous experiment of its own. The ONE Prize awards jury found the Self Growing Lab fascinating and a potentially great addition to The Lucent Cube, but others found its structures to be insufficiently defined.

Related: Beehive-Inspired Vertical Farm is a Self-Sufficient Mini Ecosystem for London

Personally, we think the idea of merging the designs is especially exciting. Stay tuned — renovation of the Smart Dock is planned for some time after Building 128 opens its doors in September 2015.

+ ONE LAB

+ ONE PRIZE 2014