SO-IL, Noah’s Ark

Project Statement

The gig economy is irreversible, and ruptures emerge with every form of revolution. But as the direction of the wind changes and the hardened earth loosens, it is also time to whack the weeds, plant the bulbs, and contemplate the potentials for a new form in our gardens.


We are not the stubborn breed that advocates the contrary for the sake of it. Afterall, haven’t architects been all too eager to be the style definer of the mushrooming incubators and domestic spaces newly made public via engines like Airbnb and Instagram? However, an important role we must also fulfill as architects is to guard the civic fabric and to imagine new ones—to foresee the structural deficiencies and to mend them. Through constant gardening and sometimes radical interventions, we strive toward a more civilized and equal society in which it is not simply that “wasted resources” are harnessed for economic exploitation, but one in which the benefit of a new order can invest in social and cultural values that enrich the lives of the many (ie. respite, leisure, and room for personal pursuits?).


For this sharing model, we imagine Manhattan’s great grid undone by the endlessly shrinking atomic unit and the chaotic energy embedded between floating particles. The grid–which has served to conquer the wilderness, subjugate differences and “others,” and ultimately fuel the three-dimensional anarchy that has become a hallmark of Manhattanism–can be rendered superfluous; blocks shattering into pieces from within. Bits and pieces congest and disperse without permanent ties to each other, floating on a sheet of seductive pink fluid. Smart vehicles are expected to calculate and recalculate the fastest route, constantly avoiding congestion but never without the risk of being trapped. Landmarks old and new–the usual suspects and some unexpected–take on the role of marking the nodes, voids, and boundaries of this new landscape. Devoid of the grid, their symbolic presence becomes more agonistic and argumentative. What do we guard? What do we destroy? Where do we transgress? Where are our limits?


Our model is a set of questions more than anything, but also a realism rendered beautifully toxic.


Participant Bio

SO–IL is an award winning architectural design firm that envisions spaces for culture, learning, and innovation. From their offices in New York, SO–IL partakes in the production of buildings, interiors, furniture, and landscapes around the world. As a collective of diverse thinkers and makers, the office engages with the ever changing social, economic, and natural environment through active dialogue that considers context, function, and opportunity. SO–IL believes that physical structures have the power to offer a sense of wonder and place. They serve as platforms of exchange, and create generous, sensorial, and visceral experiences.


Drawing Auction

Each of the drawings that accompany the 30 models in Sharing Models: Manhattanisms will be auctioned throughout the duration of the exhibition. Proceeds support Storefront’s ongoing programming in New York and internationally. BID ONLINE HERE.


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