Leong Leong placed a larger emphasis on the underdeveloped area of Hudson Yards with their proposal of “bio-mobility equals wild diversity,” which would serve as an incubator and laboratory for understanding the major role that the mobility of ecology plays in the health and mobility of urban forms.
Adding to Leong Leong’s wildscape was labDORA’s break from the grid-system that would allow for a mobilization of people in ways that focus on spatial relationships that support a natural flow of energy. LabDORA’s thesis focused on the re-claiming of space in the name of human interaction and display, ultimately re-purposing roadways to become plazas that would encourage conversations, commerce, and expression simply by pushing the limits of convention to place a higher priority in cultural relationships over the automobile.
Matter Practice, however, chose not to push the automobile out of the cityscape, after all it is one of the most powerful mobilization methods to date, but instead to re-imagine the relationship between vehicles on a highway in Washington Heights and then surrounding residents. In their ultra-colorful model, Matter Practice focused on the Trans-Manhattan Expressway, turning one of the busiest and most congested transportation routes into a shared space that supports micro-economies catering to the grid-locked commuters. The design creates an interesting relationship between the residents in northern Manhattan and the automobile that also helps to restore the balance and harmony between pedestrians and automobiles.
Marc Fornes and Theverymany also set out to explore new opportunities for neighbors to experience a built environment that is expanding at exceptionally rapid rates. The firm, like all the collaborators featured at the Urban Future Initiative, was not proposing a drastic re-altering of the urban fabric, but instead considering alternative means for our existing spaces. Marc Fornes and Theverymany chose the Central Park West neighborhoods to implement the reinvention of the city block that could grow exponentially to meet the ever-expanding housing demands faced in NYC. “Beyond Likely” expressed architectural spaces as natural organisms that bend, contort and mold to one another creating a structure that looks like every person had a hand in crafting their own urban habitat.
Abruzzo Bodziak’s “form follows performance” sought to take structures of NYC and make them apart of the energized fabric that keeps NYC going day in and day out. Similar to the other four firms, Abruzzo Bodziak understands the significant role cities play with respect to our environmental mitigation processes and with that in mind the firm’s manifesto calls for a connection between the built environment and the energy that it consumes. Abruzzo Bodziak has reimagined what it means to create an architectural city through the development of monitor-nature-sensors which would collection information on climate conditions and apply the empathy-noticing data towards a better controlled and understood energy production process, lowering the energy consumption of the built environment as well as harnessing extra sustainable energy and redistributing throughout the urban fabric.
Audi’s exhibit brought the firms together not only to display their innovative ideas, but also to simulate inspiration amongst architects, designers, planners, and every day urban lovers who have an amazing opportunity to impact the not just spatial conditions, but all conditions. The architecture and ideas on display throughout the Festival of Ideas underscored the important challenges facing urban areas today and provided a unique chance to see what our future would look like if we came together and thought about spaces that made our lives better, more effective, and lent a helping hand to nature in the process.