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Here’s how it works: Start with a landscape that is familiar and banal – everyday. Add a new layer to the landscape that transforms its topography, color, and lighting conditions. This new layer of stuff radically inhibits one’s ability to perform everyday tasks, but it simultaneously enables wild new activities to occur in the transformed landscape. Because the “normal” becomes “impossible,” time is suspended, and a provisional holiday is declared. This holiday is a snowday.

By “snowday” we mean a temporary celebration that exists in both space and time. We propose to create a snowday on Governor’s Island the middle of summer. Our “Snowday” is a striated mound of shiny whiteness in the grass. Inside the pavilion, the harsh summer sun is diffused through white greenhouse sheathing and then filtered through a lattice of gothic ribs.

The skin provides shelter from rain and relief from the sun by reducing incident solar radiation by 30%. The soft sunlight simulates a snowy glow on the inside – cool and bright. The form opens to the south above a stage. The structure and geometry of the stage mirror the pavilion above, but they have been kicked off axis. The stepped geometry of the stage can be used for performance or just chillin’.

Construction – Scalability – Phasing

Snowday is a modular, parametric system which can be tweaked and reparameterized once details and budgets are finalized. Should the project budget prove smaller than anticipated, the design logic of the project allows us to easily shrink or expand the pavilion without redesigning the critical formal and programmatic relationships.

The stage is an integral part of the design of Snowday. The pavilion is conceived as place to gather, to celebrate, to participate and to spectate. When the stage isn’t being used for performance, its four tiers provide seating and gathering space. Nonetheless, the stage is physically separate from the pavilion. Each has been designed to be complete without the other. Should it prove necessary, the stage may be eliminated from the design for a total projected savings of $2500 or 16% of the overall project budget.

Snowday is designed to be assembled in chunks at an offsite location. The pavilion’s structural rib system will be CNC milled offsite and then assembled at a separate location. The budget contains a line item for renting a space for two weeks where the project will be pre-assembled. The budget also projects costs for computer controlled cutting with a partner institution. Final assembly of the project and sheathing will take place on the island.

Project Lifecycle:

It is the intention of the project to achieve maximum effect with a minimum of means. The major structural component of the project is the plywood rib system, which is cut by computer controlled router from a standard sheet of plywood. Because the project budget is tight the structure has been designed to waste an absolute minimum of material. The material that remains after the structure has been cut will be used to create a decorative filigree infill for the stage.

The skin of the project is a standard material used in greenhouse construction. The product comes one continuous roll of sheet material. Because the project is radial we will be able to keep long sections of the skin intact as we skin it. In this way the material will be reusable at the end of the season. We anticipate donating the sheathing to one of New York City’s rooftop farms.