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Liquid Sky at MoMA PS1

Ball-Nogues Studio

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Liquid Sky at MoMA PS1

Project Status


Year Completed





  • Endres Ware
  • Product Architecture Laboratory, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Arup
  • Fountainhead Water Systems Design
  • Sheila Pepe
  • Chris Reins and Elizabeth Lande

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Project Description


The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center present an installation in P.S.1's outdoor courtyard by Los Angeles-based firm Ball-Nogues, led by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, winner of the eighth annual MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program. The competition invites emerging architects to propose an installation for the courtyard of P.S.1 in Long Island City, Queens. The objective of the Young Architects Program is to identify and provide an outlet for emerging young talent in architecture, an ongoing mission of both MoMA and P.S.1. This year, five finalists selected by a closed nomination process were asked to present designs for an installation at P.S.1.
The winning installation, Liquid Sky, designed by Ball-Nogues (Los Angeles), will be on view in the P.S.1 courtyard beginning June 21. Liquid Sky will immerse the viewer in kaleidoscopic patterns of color created by sunlight filtering through an array of translucent, tinted Mylar petals that resemble blossoming flowers of stained glass. Together, the petals form a tensioned surface that reconfigures the horizon, cresting above the walls of the P.S.1 courtyard. Six towers constructed from untreated utility poles support the surface while providing discrete spaces at their base for relaxing on enormous community hammocks made of brightly colored netting. For the adjacent outdoor gallery, the team has designed the Droopscape, a slack catenary belly that shifts and flows in the wind, supported by drench towers that periodically soak visitors below with their gravity-induced tip buckets by Fountainhead. The winning proposal was designed in collaboration with Paul Endres of Endres Ware Architects/Engineers and the Product Architecture Lab at Stevens Institute. As in past years, the project will serve as the venue for Warm Up, the popular music series held annually in P.S.1's courtyard.
"Ball-Nogues's exuberant project, Liquid Sky, combines the zest of a joyful event space with rigorous research into new materials and digital fabrication," states Barry Bergdoll, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art. Low-tech assembly is joined with experiment in the latest cutting and fabrication techniques gleaned from the sailing industry. They posit a project whose research will hold resonance and application long after this summer's Warm Up series. Liquid Sky is a rich palette of atmospheric effects and brilliant color with an undertone of the ephemeral circus spectacle.
According to P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss, "To hear five great, young architects present their dream of a temporary pavilion is to fall in love five times. The winner, Ball-Nogues, from the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, gave us a Fellini-esque project: a circus tent whose canvas has been replaced with phosphorescent scales of hallucinogenic colors. This astonishing but low-tech creation cannot fail but to delight viewers of all ages."
Ball-Nogues principals, Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, describe the experience of their installation: "When you step into Liquid Sky, you've set your mind and body free from the weight of the urban environment and are submerged into an atmosphere of soothing exhilaration, subtle stimulation, and inspirational calm. As the installation changes from day-to-day, even hour-to-hour, your expectations create your own unique experience."
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