Part of the summer experience in New York City —at least for the past 15 years—has been making a visit to the outdoor courtyard at MoMA’s PS1 in of Queens to listen to DJs, rub shoulders with other hipsters, and view the latest installation in the Young Architects Program. Designed by David Benjamin of the New York firm The Living, this year’s winning installation was constructed with Ecovative living bricks made of mycelium and agricultural waste and 3M reflective films. I first wrote about Ecovative’s mushroom materials way back in 2009 in an article while I was at Architectural Record. Benjamin chose these materials to make a structure that creates as little waste, energy, and carbon emissions as possible. Called Hy-Fi, the temporary tower uses 3M’s highly reflective films to create a mirrored effect on the outside of the tower, while diverting and bouncing light through the inside to illuminate the space. A small pool sits in front of the tower.
In the structure, 3M Specular Film Bricks are positioned at the top of the tower, bouncing sunrays down through the structure for a kaleidoscope of light. The compostable building will trap cool air in the bottom where visitors will congregate and push hot air out of the open top of the circular towers. Compared to a typical vapor coated aluminum reflector, which has a 10% light loss per bounce, 3M Specular Films have a mere 1.5% light loss per bounce.
3M has multiple versions of Specular Film for various applications, including options appropriate for thermoforming, artificial light, and indirect sunlight. The film was originally developed to assist lighting designers, as it improves thermal management, increases optical efficiency and lumen output, and reduces LED and LED circuitry costs.
Hy-Fi by The Living will be on display from June 27 to September 7 at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, New York. The exhibit is open 12 – 6PM, Thursday through Monday, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
All images courtesy 3M.