Have you ever wondered what the New York State Pavilion would look like as a public park? How about a hanging garden? Those fantastical ideas may not actually come to fruition anytime soon, but they’re among the winning proposals for a contest asking designers to dream up new uses for the aging World’s Fair relic.
In March, the National Trust for Historic Preservation launched a design competition that asked entrants to imagine a future for the iconic Philip Johnson-designed structure. More than 250 entries were received, ranging from the mundane (a brewery with a hydroponic farm) to the wild and wacky (a cheeseburger museum). From those, a panel that includes archicritic Paul Goldberger picked four winners: three general ones, and one specifically from a pool of Queens entrants.
Though the four winners differ in execution, they all have one thing in common: envisioning the Pavilion as a public space where New Yorkers can congregate and hang out. Currently, the structure is closed to the public—it’s apparently not safe enough for sustained public use at the moment—but here’s hoping the renewed interest in the Pavilion will change that soon.
Get a peek at the winners, below; and check out more of the entrants and details on the project at the Queens Museum, where "Pavilion Futures: The New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition Exhibit" will be on view through August 28.
First place: "Hanging Meadows," Aidan Doyle and Sarah Wan
The winning proposal would repurpose the Pavilion’s circular structure as "the base to a suspended natural environment" that would feature plants native to New York and the northeastern United States; it would also include walkways through the ecosystem, giving visitors an understanding of the natural environment.
Second place: "Civic Hub," Javier Salinas
This proposal puts the surrounding Queens community first, envisioning the Pavilion’s various buildings as structures serving various purposes: as an event space, a fitness center, a playground, and the like.
Third place: "Pavilion for the Community," Rishi Kejrewal and Shaurya Sharma
Similar to "Civic Hub," this proposal envisions the Pavilion as a multi-purpose community space, with various sections devoted to things like a food hall, a covered walkway, a "play area," and more. This proposal would also reimagine the map of New York State that once covered the Pavilion floor.
Queens winner: "Pavilion Park," Cesar Juarez and Alida Rose Delaney
The Queens winner seeks to open up the Pavilion by removing its existing walls, but keeping the rest of the framework, calling it "a space for new experiences and everyday occurrences to be shared by future generations."