The mobile structure for the first cycle of the BMW Guggenheim Lab has been designed by the Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow as a lightweight and compact “traveling toolbox.” The 2,200-square-foot structure can easily fit into dense neighborhoods and be transported from city to city. In New York, the two-story structure is nestled between two buildings on a three-quarter-acre T-shaped site; at its southern end, it opens out onto an inviting landscaped public space and cafe.
The lower half of the BMW Guggenheim Lab structure is an open space that can be configured to meet the particular needs of the various programs, shifting from a formal lecture setting with a stage to the scene for a celebratory gathering or a workshop. The upper, “toolbox” portion of the structure is loosely wrapped in two layers of semitransparent mesh, which creates a shimmering moiré effect and allows visitors to catch glimpses of the extensive apparatus of “tools” that can be raised or lowered on a rigging system to configure the lower space for the different programs. Remarkably, the BMW Guggenheim Lab is the first building designed with a structural framework composed of carbon fiber. Videos and images of the structure and the construction process can be viewed at youtube.com/bmwguggenheimlab and flickr.com/bmwguggenheimlab.
“Rather than architects educating the public on how to behave within spaces, it is the public who should have the autonomy of spatial practice in their cities,” stated Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow-Wow. “We have always been advocates of people regaining ownership in order to shape the city around them, and are very pleased to participate in the launch of the BMW Guggenheim Lab. We always conceived the Lab as a public space without enclosure.”
The inaugural BMW Guggenheim Lab will leave behind permanent improvements to the once-vacant East Village lot on which it sits, including the stabilization and paving of the site, replacement of sidewalks, and new wrought-iron fencing and gates.
The graphic identity of the BMW Guggenheim Lab has been developed by Seoul-based graphic designers Sulki & Min.