WINNING ENTRY:Raise/RazE by Hou de sousa, New york city, USA

Raise/Raze is an assembly block system that is strong, light weight and fully reconfigurable. While the project would open with a number of pre-assembled worlds, or zones, visitors would then be free to interact with and alter the installation in order to create their own objects and designs. We were inspired by the RE-BALL competition brief and its emphasis on repurposing a previously used material. Running with this notion, we chose to propose a dynamic re-usable system, rather than a specific form or design. We were intrigued by the fact that there would be a finite quantity of building material (650k balls broken down into 24k cubes), which would result in a dynamic and direct relationship between creation and destruction. Raise/Raze is a like sand in massive sandbox, something akin to a life sized Lego set, or a real-world version of the popular video game Minecraft, which allowing users to alter their surroundings with ease.



After many tests and experiments with glues and magnets, as well as several mock- ups, we arrived at a 27 ball cube that is fused together with a hot glue gun and can aggregate with additional cubes using Velcro corners. This small cube has the advantage of being the lightest of those we tested, and also providing the best resolution. The two larger cubes we tried each consisted of 125 balls. For the first, the individual balls were stacked perpendicular to one another, and connected at the quadrants, similar to the small cube. The second large cube incorporated hexagonally-packed layers, resulting in hundreds of additional connections, which increased the strength significantly (an adult can stand on the hexagonally-packet cube without damaging it).




FINALIST: Labyrinthe de versailles by HGLN - Midori Hasuike, Chiara Geroldi, Giulia Lechi, Hana Narváez; MILAN, ITALY


The project consists of a mass of balls excavated by tight passages, whose layout is based on The Labyrinth of Versailles, designed by Andre Le Notre in 1665 for the Gardens of Versailles. These Gardens were one of the references that influenced Pierre Charles L'Enfant in designing the Washington D.C.plan. Our proposal engages with this reference, as a way to refer to the city and its masterplan, and interpret the labyrinth in a new way,: by disclosing its nature to the visitor in fine ways. The project aims also to provide a space which is both contemplative and playful at the same time. 

The proposed mass occupies a third of Dupont Underground, so to be admired from a close up and distant point of view. It appears to be suspended by vertical supports on the ground and it is reflected on the ceiling. The people who will walk through the mass will be both completely immersed in it and they will also have the opportunity to see other visitors thanks to the mirroring surface that will be placed on the ceiling. The mirror will reveal the layout of the mass to the visitor. Thus, the mirror partially discloses the nature of the labyrinth, which is usually not graspable. 

The Labyrinth is a work of contrasts. The balls are not free to move anymore, trapped in cages. As "nature" in the French gardens, the balls are also geometrically ordered. They cannot be touched but they still maintain their playful nature. They are ordered by historical references and yet made from modern materials. The volume is massive, yet filled by light balls and it seems to be floating in the dark space.




FINALIST: ASTRO by evan wiskup and ryan connolly, new york city, usa


I'm Blue.

Embracing the long and narrow qualities of the DuPont Underground, ASTRO acts as an interactive partition within the now defunct infrastructural space. This project encourages a multiplicity of unusual and other-worldly experiences through the simple gesture of suspending a catenary net containing the re-used translucent white balls. Above the net is a network of blue lights that shine through the translucent balls generating the effect of floating through a celestial body, exploring a deep cavern, or diving into a deep lagoon. ASTRO is an experiment in creating the maximum architectural effect with the simplest and most elegant possible means.

Upon entering the DuPont Underground from the compressed space of the entrance stairwell, visitors are greeted by a wall of blue illuminated balls. To the right, they can follow the blue glow into the darkness or proceed to the left, towards a distant white light. At the eastern end of the site is a bright white spot light that illuminates the entire underground space through a light to dark gradient, animating the translucent balls.

As visitors explore from the brightly lit end of the DuPont Underground to its dimly lit western counterpart, they encounter a variety of sectional experiences. In some places the net nearly touches the ground-- encouraging visitors to touch the glowing surface, become fully submerged within the hanging net, or play hide-and-go-seek with friends. In other places, the net soars above creating the sensation of a weightless mass or underground cavern, a hidden lake or captured piece of the skies above. 



FINALIST: SOFTSPRING by julia chapman and lindsey may, NEW YORK CITY, USA


SOFTSPRING aggregates the once disparate and shapeless plastic balls of the National Building Museum into an enchanting, twisting armature that exploits and illuminates the specificities of the Dupont Underground. At once a winding, glowing sculpture and a programmatic spine, SOFTSPRING traverses floor, wall, and ceiling to unify and activate the underground environment. Dense in some areas, SOFTSPRING stages disparate spatial experiences. More specifically, through its formal variations SOFTSPRING creates an small theater setting for film and performance events, an entrance lobby for social gatherings, and a maze-like walking path for exploration and play.  





FINALIST: BALLROOM by jens bothe, id studio, on3studio, hamburg germany

The age of ‘The Beach’ is history and we welcome 600,000 protagonists waiting to perform for guests and creative voyagers. Inspired by the location and the realization that the whole is more than just the sum of its individual parts, we have taken the individual shapes of the balls and created a much larger mass. A gigantic leap in proportion. Fit for a new stage. Now, instead of one little ball, we will use 45.000 balls and turn them into one large sphere, 13 in total. Held together by an intricate net made of nylon. This is an adaptation of ‘The Beach’ during which balls were a light, malleable, almost liquid environment. 

We propose an homage to last year’s celebration and an evolution towards a more solid form. The orbs will be lit from within with illumination pulsating, yet barely reaching the slightly irregular surface. The new balls are impressive in size yet light in weight: Just under 12ft in diameter yet easy to move. 

Again the visitor is invited to take part, interact. Invited to touch and feel and use the huge spheres to explore the elegantly curving space. When the balls are moved the light inside intensifies, lighting the otherwise dark surrounding location. This is a new way to explore the atmosphere, endless possibilities of light and shadow. Interaction with the balls is interacting with the location.