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Brief Published: 14 May 2012

Carbon Cleaning Architectural Installation


Not only exploring the boundaries of spatial design but also pitching architecture as a force for ecological good, a temporary art installation that cleans the air will soon be constructed in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art PS1 in Long Island, New York, this June. 

The commission came to fruition when New York-based architects HWKN won an annual competition run by Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art, which invites architects and designers to create an outside Partyscape that will challenge the traditional role of architecture. This year’s installation also had to address environmental issues – such as sustainability and recycling – in addition to the more basic provisions of shade, seating and water. 

The ultra-decorative starburst structure, mysteriously dubbed ‘Wendy’ by the architects, tackles carbon emissions at a level equivalent to removing 260 cars from the road. This is thanks to its outer covering – a sheath of nylon fabric treated with a chemical spray that neutralises airborne pollutants.

Adding a canny marketing spin to the proceedings to help fund the construction of the project, a website has been launched where it is possible to purchase Wendy merchandise – including T-shirts and tote bags all coated in the same air-cleaning titania nanoparticles used on the installation.

US-based companies including fan-engineering company Big Ass Fans and sustainable surface specialists Pureti have also assisted with the upcoming project by contributing key materials.

For more information on how future-facing materials are revolutionising the spatial design industry, see Stylus’ report: Annabelle Filer’s Material World.


Meet Wendy 


Big Ass Fans