Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore, and Tobias Armborst of Interboro Partners

The program brief for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, now entering its second decade as arguably the most high-visibility gig for emerging talent, could be read as “create a cool shade structure in the PS1 museum courtyard and get ready for a dance party.” But in an era when the profession is feeling a bit hungover from the indulgences of formal expression, Interboro’s piece, “Holding Pattern,” takes a refreshingly different approach.

Brooklyn, N.Y.–based partners Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore, AIA, and Tobias Armborst asked folks in PS1’s Long Island City neighborhood a question: Is there something you need that we could design, use in the summer courtyard installation, then donate in the fall? Their query turned up a mixed-bag of materials, including ping-pong tables, mirrors, and a grove of 60 red oak trees, all of which will be deployed beneath a canopy of rope that stretches across the PS1 courtyard. Their outreach can be seen as a model for young architects who might be frustrated with traditional practice.

“They take classes about ‘social design’ but end up sourcing bathroom fixtures for luxury apartment units,” D’Oca says. “[With ‘Holding Pattern’] we spent a good amount of time talking to taxi-management companies, libraries, high schools, senior and daycare centers, community gardens, the post office, and dozens of other Long Island City–based institutions. We feel like a part of the neighborhood and that makes us happy.”