From a little further a field. Contemplating the blue-boarded frozen construction sites on his daily commute from Penn Station to Woods Bagot’s former Garment District office, Woods Bagot New York Principal Jeffrey Holmes considered how to reimagine and revitalise the City’s urban fabric with the promise held by such captivating physical spaces.
“Owners and developers are spending money every day to cover these idle sites, and people are hesitant to build on them in the meantime,” said Holmes. “We wanted to make something high quality with a real presence to attract top-notch venues.”
Innovative and iconic, yet flexible, dynamic and sustainable, Icebergs – like their namesakes, are created for maximum impact with minimal means – multipurpose architectural placeholders until developers resurrect their projects.
Conceived from ‘cradle to grave,’ Woods Bagot’s temporary structure design features recycled, recyclable and reusable materials that promote efficient delivery, installation, performance and disassembly whilst maximising vital light and air connections. The design uses a modular and reusable steel frame, wrapped in translucent polycarbonate panels at grade and topped by inflated pillows of super-lightweight ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene). One-tenth the weight of a conventional US taxpayer building and able to be erected and dismantled in days, Icebergs deliver speed to market, reduced labour costs, and minimise future development hurdles.
Designed specifically to engage the audiences of brand and mission driven organisations, Icebergs are unique physical spaces that support a wide range of uses: interactive “pop up” retail sites to exhibitions and cultural events; from local start-ups and not-for-profit organisations to regional and global brands. Programmed to flex and seem directly embedded in the city, Icebergs are an experience venue and a marquee space where the building becomes iconic and the temporal architecture is an integral part of the event.
“Embracing the financial and temporal realities of stalled sites, Icebergs represent fresh thinking about the intersection of use, function and design. Icebergs reactivate and reinvigorate these now-dormant spaces. This design initiative offers new opportunities for businesses and institutions to expand awareness, drive engagement, build sales or advance their mission,” said Holmes.
Scalable and conceived to address a global issue through local results, each Iceberg’s off-the-shelf components are reusable and easy to maintain – ensuring low life-cycle costs and a minimal environmental footprint. Importantly, Icebergs are transportable in a single shipping container – easily set adrift to dilapidated sites in cities around the world: from New York to London, Beijing or Bondi.