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New York, New York
United States of America

Sustainability, Green Ideas, Environment, Networking, Architecture, Engineering, Building Systems, Farah Ahmad, Farah Naz Ahmad

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My personal journal: architecture, travel, current events, New York City, & more.

Filtering by Tag: Environment

Governor's Cup Champions

Farah Ahmad

For the last few months, students and professionals have been busy assembling 30,000 reclaimed plastic cups into a massive organic structure. Components of the structure are scattered throughout the space of CDR Studio, organized carefully by section. In this design studio of downtown Manhattan, volunteers have organized design efforts, an assembly schedule, a drive for materials collection, and a widespread fundraising campaign. Meetings and workshops are weekly highlights of the enthusiastic participants, setting targets for a pending deadline. What is the mission of these ambitious participants?

CDR Studio is the winner of the annual City of Dreams competition, a component of the public art festival FIGMENT, which will take place June 7-8 on Governor’s Island this Summer. The activity, hosted by participatory arts group FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architect Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) is part of a larger event; FIGMENT is held in 13 cities in 3 countries, drawing thousands of participants around the world. In New York City, CDR Studio’s project was selected to be featured for the fourth annual pavilion competition by the three host organizations. The event will draw over 200,000 visitors and the project will be on display for four months.

CDR Studio’s values of “creativity, collaboration, and craft” are core design and construction concepts. Rehanna Rojiani, of CDR Studio, who worked extensively on the design and assembly team, explains the integration of teamwork and persistence that comprised the entire process. Mock-ups, testing, structural strategies, and installation logistics are just a few of the project components. However, the experience has been worth it for Rehanna and other team members. “There is a really wonderful sense that although we are designing something with a high degree of complexity it is completely accessible to anyone.”

Project logistics were no easy feat: 30,000 plastic reclaimed cups were diverted from the landfill and donated by institutions including WeWork, Google, and Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs. Depositories were also set up at public events and office spaces to expand collection efforts. Additionally, a Kickstarter fundraising campaign attracted over $14,000 and over 100 supporters! Funds have covered assembly, storage, transportation, and, have ensured maintenance of the project throughout its four month display.

The end product is the embodiment of the wise adage- “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The City of Dreams Pavilion competition calls for a net-zero design, and CDR Studio’s creative use of materials certainly presented an eco-conscious concept. The “transformed trash” is transformed into a public art installation of huge scale which will allow visitors an interactive experience- elements of light, shadow, movement and sound, enhanced by island harbor winds- will be sure to engage your senses! The structure will serve as an outdoor space for visitors and, as a shading prototype, holds potential for further application.

Their Governor’s Cup pavilion will be transported to Governor’s Island and assembled as part of the design-build experience in the coming month to be featured this Summer for public viewing. You can be a part of this collaborative effort too! Join the Governor’s Cup team today! In the meantime, be on a lookout for the next call for entries, for next year’s City of Dreams Pavilion! Want to become a part of this incredible effort? Get some amazing design-build experience and make some great friends in the process! Please reach out to David Flecha, at! 

Quick Facts:

1- Sign up here, its quick and simple!

2- Anyone looking to gain IDP credit, can earn experience hours through volunteering for this project!

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