2015 Street Architecture Prize Winner: SecondMedia

Storefront for Art and Architecture, along with the New Museum, is pleased to announce that Foamspace by SecondMedia is the winner of Storefront for Art and Architecture’s 2015 Street Architecture Prize Competition.

The Street Architecture Prize Competition is a biennial international competition in its third edition that aims to initiate the design of a unique temporary outdoor structure intended to facilitate new forms of collective public gathering while addressing the IDEAS CITY Festival’s theme: The Invisible City. This year, more than 70 submissions were received from teams comprised of emerging artists, architects, and engineers from across the globe.

SecondMedia’s submission, Foamspace, was selected due to its radical and innovative proposition that reframes architecture beyond form and financial structures beyond consumerism. The project bridges economics, logistics, and architecture in the public realm, both physical and virtual.

As a temporary work of architecture, Foamspace seeks to mobilize the value generated during the Festival through a virtual platform that will operate as a revenue paradigm for community members to propose, vote on, and fund projects in order to extend the Festival’s civic engagement beyond its temporal limits.

The Foamspace installation will utilize material that is omnipresent yet invisible in current forms of construction: the EPS geofoam block. Geofoam blocks are a lightweight fill material that weigh approximately 1% the weight of soil. They are increasingly becoming the invisible foundation of urban projects around the world. Typically an unseen material, Foamspace will put the blocks to imaginative use by creating a landscape of structures to host select festival programming.

Foamspace will become a public stage for performance, a space for debate, and an urban lounge for relaxation during this day of activities taking over the streets.

The Foamspace project is further distinguished by its commitment to generating a community and system of value by launching a cryptocurrency, the Foamspace Coin. The geofoam blocks at the Festival will serve as a visual metaphor for the Bitcoin blockchain. Foamspace Coin will engage architects and artists in order to capture, store, and mobilize the value from the Festival and guarantee the project’s future evolution.

Foamspace Coin will be built with Counterparty, a free and open platform that offers powerful financial tools in the form of assets, shares, and votes by harnessing the power of the decentralized Bitcoin blockchain network.

At the end of the Festival, the geofoam blocks will be sold back to the manufacturer, and the resulting revenue will be added to a central fund for future community use.


To participate:

Step 1: Visit foam.space for a free Foamspace Coin and register for a digital wallet that represents membership in the Foamspace community.

Step 2: Check out the Foamspace installation at the IDEAS CITY Festival on Saturday May 30, 2015.

Step 3: Propose a project, vote on the next funded event, invest in more coins and participate in civic forms of architecture making.

As a mobile work of architecture, the installation is preceded by financial tools built on the bitcoin block chain. After the Festival, the geofoam blocks will be sold to establish a fund. Join the platform, create a digital wallet, and receive a Foamspace Coin to claim your stake in the community. Propose a project, vote on the next funded event, and participate in consensus-driven architecture.



SecondMedia Project Team

SecondMedia is a collaboration dedicated to directly affecting the spatial conditions of the urban environment through financial tools and community organization.


Nikolay Martynov is an Artist and a practicing Architect at SOM New York. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Moscow Architectural Institute and a Masters of Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Prior to SecondMedia collaboration, Nikolay established an award winning architectural studio KOSMOS, which projects include Gallery for Garage Center of Contemporary Arts in Moscow, residential development for Skolkovo Innovation Center and number of awards in international competitions. Currently Nikolay is focusing on Art direction in an entrepreneurial setting, pursuing research on new Spatial Identities on the edge of physical and digital architecture.


Betty Fan is an Entrepreneur and a practicing Architectural Designer at OMA New York. Originally from Hong Kong, Betty holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Masters in Architecture & Urban Design from Columbia University. Prior to SecondMedia collaboration, she has conducted an extensive research on Lighting design integration in Architectural and Urban Projects while working at CSCEC in Shanghai. Currently Betty is focusing on integration of strategic design with innovative business models. As an entrepreneur, she builds branding identities for emerging startups in fashion, real estate and financial spheres.


Ekaterina Zavyalova is an architectural designer and an artist based in New York. Originally from Moscow, Russia, Ekaterina received her Masters of Architecture from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles and her BA from Moscow Architectural Institute. She currently works for CDR Studio, where she was a lead designer for Governor’s Cup Pavilion, a winning entry for the City of Dreams Competition for a summer long pavilion on Governors Island. Previously she has worked for Gage/Clemenceau Architects and managed the Boffo Building Fashion Competitions winning project, Pop Up Store for Nicola Formichetti, a former art director for Lady GaGa. Recently, Ekaterina embarked on a fashion accessory project Asex, an exploration of sexuality in the age of digital technology.


Ryan John King is a writer, researcher and spatial entrepreneur based in New York working at the intersection of Architecture, Political Economy and Digital Society. Ryan has initiated the conversation on cryptocurrency and architecture and has been a leading participant in conferences, workshops and competitions that explore the topic. Recently he was published in Volume Magazine on the Venice Biennale’s theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity’ in relation to the elements of architecture’s forthcoming digital transformations. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studied Architecture at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and is a published scholar on the Middle East, Free Trade Zones and the Arab Uprisings.


About the Competition

The Street Architecture Prize is awarded to an interdisciplinary team, comprised of members that have been out of school for less than ten years. The Prize award is $7,500, in addition to the realization of the project in New York City with a $20,000 construction budget. There were seventy-four total submissions.


2015 jurors included: Amale Andraos, Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Eva Franch i Gilabert, Director, Storefront for Art and Architecture; Liam Gillick, Artist; Joseph Grima, Director, IDEAS CITY; Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, New Museum, and Cofounder, IDEAS CITY; Emily Colasacco, NYC Department of Transportation and Engineer, Buro Happold.


New York City is known for its street fairs. With this in mind, the competition was initiated in 2011 as a vehicle for making the ubiquitous street fair tent more sustainable and visually compelling and as a way to push the limits of temporary architectural design. The inaugural winning design in 2011 was “The Worms,” by the New York City–based designers Family and PlayLab. The 2013 winning design was “MirrorMirror” by the Buffalo, New York-based firm Davidson Rafailidis.


About IDEAS CITY Festival

IDEAS CITY explores the future of cities around the globe with culture as a driving force. The Ideas City Festival was Founded in 2011 as a biennial event created to explore the future city and to effect change by the New Museum with the support of downtown arts organizations Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Architectural League, The Drawing Center, The Poetry Bowery Club, and NYU Wagner. As a major collaborative initiative between hundreds of arts, education, and civic organizations centered on the belief that culture is fundamentally and inextricably vital to urban growth and innovation the mission of the festival is to bring culture beyond museum and gallery walls into the civic realm.


The IDEAS CITY Executive Committee and core team includes: Cofounders Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director, New Museum; Karen Wong, Deputy Director, New Museum; with Rosalie Genevro, Director, the Architectural League of New York; Bob Holman, Founder and Proprietor, Bowery Poetry Club; Elizabeth O’Donnell, Acting Dean, School of Architecture, Cooper Union; Brett Littman, Director, the Drawing Center; and Eva Franch i Gilabert, Director and Chief Curator, Storefront for Art and Architecture. Joseph Grima is Director of the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY team, which includes Corinne Erni, Senior Producer; Richard Flood, Director of Special Projects and Curator at Large; and Annie Sultan, Director of Marketing and Community Networks.