October 19, 2010

Book Review: Above the Pavement - The Farm! : Architecture and Agriculture at P.F.1 - Edited by Amale Andraos & Dan Wood

Above the Pavement - The Farm! : Architecture and Agriculture at P.F.1 is an account of the process behind the design and construction of the annual P.S.1. young architects installation in 2008. WORKac was the winner of the competition with their proposal to construct a working farm, planted in sections of sono tubes sloping up over the walls of the courtyard. Told through first person accounts of the process, by people intimately involved in the project, this book offers a unique view into the design and construction process as well as the challenges and details that often get glossed over once a project is completed. This story follows the project from the initial conception and competition presentation, through the installation and dismantling of the farm. In plain language the book highlights the incredibly complex process of actually getting a design completed including getting the perspective from various members of the design team, construction team, volunteers and clients. Each lends their perspective to the process as the interviews are interwoven following the timeline of the project.

Furthermore, this book highlights a complex web of important issues facing our urban conditions, and how to reintroduce nature and food production into our cities. It is a heart warming story of a group of people banding together to make a statement. The project managed to collect a wide range of citizens, from all walks of life, to work together in order for it to succeed. It wasn't an installation designed by architects for other designers. It wasn't a project solely focussed on the summer music and party events held at P.S.1. It was as design with the purpose of bringing people together, to start a dialogue, and hopefully to teach people about the possibilities of bringing farming back into urban centers. It attracted families with children, artist, architects, and party going Brooklyn hipsters. Furthermore it invited gardening volunteers from the area as well as employed inmates from Rikers island to help plant, grow and maintain the plants. It included a true cross section of New York citizens and brought them together to experience a new way to live and work in the city.

This book manages to capture the spirit and energy of the project and enlighten readers into the complex and often hectic experience of creation. It humanizes the architectural world in a way that the average person can understand and sympathise with the difficulties in taking an idea and turning it into reality.


Above the Pavement - The Farm! : Architecture and Agriculture at P.F.1
Amale Andraos, Dan Wood
Paperback, 208 pages
June 2, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1568989358
Princeton Architectural Press: www.papress.com

For more information on the firm WORKac click here: http://work.ac/

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