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Pole Dance at MoMA PS1





  • Arup

Project Status


Year Completed



15,000 sq. feet



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Project Description

In our winning design for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program we take the opportunity to further contemporary explorations of sensory-charged environments, rather than finite forms. Especially considering the unique requirements of the temporary structure for the PS1 courtyard, needing to perform two seemingly contradictory tasks—calming and carousing, a worthy proposition will need to consider the choreography of situations rather than object-making.
We designed a participatory environment that reframes the conceptual relation between people and structure. Composed of an interconnected system of poles, netting, and elastic bungee, its equilibrium is constantly challenged by both human action and environmental factors, such as rain and wind. Discovering its elasticity, visitors engage with the structure to invent games, test its limits, and watch it gently dance. Our goal was that such an environment re-engages the public with the physical, triggering increased awareness and consciousness of our environment and surroundings.
The small courtyard adjacent to the main space holds an immersive, interactive installation where visitors can create and control a rich sound experience by moving and shaking the poles. Eight poles contain accelerometers—electronic devices that measure the motion of the poles. Connected to custom software, the system converts motion into tones specifically design for the installation, allowing visitors to compose sounds with their movement and play.
The entire system is assembled from ready-made materials. The details allow for the system to be broken down without material degradation and most components have been repurposed since the installation was closed.
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