New Yorkers looking for a deep dive into the issues of modern urbanism will find a compelling venue for that exploration in today’s launch of the multidisciplinary BMW Guggenheim Lab (BGL). A hybrid vessel for learning, discussion, and display, BGL’s mobile structure is designed by Japanese architecture firm, Atelier Bow-Wow. The traveling think tank is a collaborative effort between the Guggenheim Foundation and an impressive advisory committee of international artists, scientists, educators, and architects, including Elizabeth Diller, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, conductor/pianist Daniel Barenboim, and economist/professor Juliet Schor, author of The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure. The lab will eventually move to nine cities in six years, and will undergo three different design cycles—each with a uniquely conceived mobile structure.
For its stint in New York-- Aug. 3 through Oct. 16-- the lab’s programming will be steered by architect/urbanists Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman, founders of Rotterdam’s ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles), and several other cutting-edge urban thinkers and activists. Multimedia activities will examine the theme, “Confronting Comfort”—how “urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs, how people can feel at ease in an urban environment, and how to find a balance between notions of modern comfort and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility.” Online and social media components will facilitate continued exploration and interaction beyond the exhibition and events.
The lab moves next to Berlin and then onto Mumbai, before circling back to the Guggenheim to conclude cycle 1 in 2013. Two subsequent two-year cycles will follow, each orchestrated by a different creative “BGL” team. For more information, visit the lab’s website.