While you probably won't see any pairs of animals marching aboard it, Philadelphia-based Austin + Mergold's SuralArk is still making quite a splash in Queens. The modern-day interpretation of Noah’s Ark popped up recently at Long Island City's Socrates Sculpture Park and will be on view until August 3rd. The thought-provoking sculpture was made from upcycled lumber and vinyl siding from suburban homes across the region, and pays tribute to the area’s marine history while calling attention to the realities of climate change.
SuralArk arrived at the sculpture park right in time for the hot sun of the summer, and doubles as both art and a shading pavilion. Beneath the wooden canopy of the ark, visitors can take respite from the sun, and enjoy the cool shade inside. The structure’s angled beams meet at the its peak, leaving a strip of sunlight that filters into the pavilion’s interior. Repurposed beams line the perimeter, forming the boat’s shape, while old vinyl house siding covers the exterior to protect against rain.
Set on the shore of the East River in an area that was once a predominantly maritime industrial zone, Austin + Mergold designed SuralArk to draw attention to the effects of climate change on New York, and the future threat of rising tides and floods. Socrates Sculpture Park fell victim to storm surge in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, and remains vulnerable to the waters of the East River. SuralArk combines the lore of Noah’s Ark with the modernity of climate change, forcing viewers to face the probability of future superstorms.
The beautiful overturned ship was the winning entry chosen from over 169 submissions in the 2014 Folly Competition hosted by the park and the Architectural League of New York.