You’re invited: Saturday from noon to 7 pm, Sunday from 11 am-7 pm and Monday from
11 am-7 pm.
The Audi Urban Future Initiative hit London’s Royal Institute of British Architects, then Venice’s Scuola Grande della Misericordia, and now Nolita’s Openhouse Gallery. This weekend, as part of the Festival of Ideas for the New City, Audi setting up shop at Openhouse to share futuristic urban ideas from the world’s foremost architects. There will also be discussions and roundtables from young New York City designers who created pop-up architectural structures throughout Manhattan over the past week.
In 2010, the car company hosted its first Audi Urban Future Award, a competition that asks architects to re-imagine the urban landscape. Competitors included Alison Brooks, Bjarke Ingles, Enric Ruiz-Geli, Jurgen Mayer H., Ricardo Scofidio and Zhang Ke. While futurists have long pictured cities that integrate planes and other air-travel transportation solutions, these architects take a more grounded approach. Ironically, the ideas of Brooks, Ruiz-Geli and the rest deal mostly with how to erase the automobile’s outsized urban footprint.
As Ingles, a Harvard professor and head of Copenhagen-based firm BIG, told Audi, “Public transportation is not the problem and neither are bicycles or pedestrians – the problem is the cars.”
No one realizes this more than Zhang Ke of Beijing, a city that was hit with a nine-day traffic jam last summer. Zhang envisions cities with built-in travel belts, which mimic conveyor belts at the airport except at a rate of 60 to 80 miles per hour. Zhang’s design, which will be on display at Openhouse, is for drivers to hop on the belt and spend the rest of their time working – or socializing – while the belt takes them from one location to the next. Mayer H., meanwhile, envisions an urban landscape where cars communicate with the city around them. Cars will essentially be one big Urban app – recommending places to go based on your personal preference as the auto gets propelled by smart streets.
The Audi Urban Future Initiative pop up at Openhouse is built and curated by Stylepark and will showcase these architects’ ideas through a series of installations. In addition, Audi is presenting ideas from New York-based architects like Abruzzo Bodziak Architects, Peter Macapia, Leong Leong, Matter Practice and Marc Fornes. They were tasked with a super-top, super-top secret architectural project around New York City that you’ll need to check out this weekend. Also involved is Architizer, the massive social network, which built a three-dimensional model of Manhattan for Audi’s pop up at Openhouse.
Greg Spielberg | May 5 2011