City of Dreams Pavilion Finalists 2015

Since Governors Island first opened to the public in 2004, the attention and interest that this new public place has received has increased exponentially. In 2013, over 400,000 people visited the island through its summer season to engage in a variety of arts and cultural programs, as well as to enjoy summertime activities like picnicking and bike riding on the island.

FIGMENT has teamed with the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter (AIANY) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) to host a competition to design and construct an architectural pavilion on Governors Island, the City of Dreams Pavilion. The 2015 pavilion will be our fifth City of Dreams Pavilion.

The City of Dreams Pavilion will be a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island. Our theme for the pavilion, the City of Dreams, points toward the future. If we imagine a future New York City where anything is possible, what would it look like? In our wildest and most optimistic dreams, what is the future of the city?

The current state of the world is such that both economic and natural resources are extremely limited. A new way of thinking is necessary to solve the problems that the world faces. Inevitably, the result will be a change in the basic practices that have driven the world to its current state. One place to start to activate and energize these changes is within the architecture and design community, where the movement toward sustainable design has only scratched the surface of what is possible and necessary.

Past Pavilions

Learn more about the proposal criteria


All renderings (c) the artists

The Pulp Pavilion

by MegaZoo (Melody Rees and Arthur Azoulai)

Made from cast paper pulp, this pavilion is constructed out of recycled material and is biodegradable. The cradle to cradle design is comprised of many cone shaped modules that are tightly packed to form a domed archway. On the exterior, the design celebrates the inherent qualities of the fibrous material. On the interior, color is used to celebrate the modularity of the design and filter light to create dramatic and contrasting effect for individuals who reside within. Each cone is cast from a unique and fibrous mix consisting of recycled paper and grass seeds. Its impact is net zero and it actually contributes to the positive biomass of the earth upon demolition. This temporary structure is a showcase for the potentials of new biodegradable material technologies within the design and construction industry.


Billion Oyster Pavilion

by BanG studio (Babak Bryan AIA – principal; Henry Grosman – principal; Suzie Betts – with Sam Janis, Harbor School/Billion Oyster Project)

Our proposal for the Billion Oyster Pavilion joins two of Governors Island’s most exciting enterprises: Figment’s City of Dreams Pavilion and The New York Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project. The materials that form the woven canopy (steel rebar, nylon rope, and hose clamps) are specifically used in their harbor restoration work. Additionally, the base of our Pavilion is made up of custom-cast “Reef Balls,” a restoration device that the school will also use as part of their habitat creation effort. By donating the entire pavilion to the Harbor School, its materials will be completely re-used on the island, eliminating the need to further transport.


Tied Together

by Hou de Sousa (Nancy Hou & Josh de Sousa)

Tied Together is a pavilion made out of aluminum pipes and strands of rope braided from 38,000 repurposed plastic bags (the amount NYC wastes every 90 seconds). The project provides a venue for events and performances, while serving as a great picnic area, and functioning as an iconic meeting point for visitors to Governors Island. From afar, Tied Together appears to be a solid sculptural object, but from up close, the overlapping composition of rope and linear gaps produces a moiré effect which visually shifts and alters the surrounding landscape as one moves between the pavilion’s spaces. Currently, less than 1% of New York City’s plastic bags are recycled, even though they account for 22% of all the plastics sent to landfills. The NY Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Act was passed in 2009 and requires medium to large scale retailers to accept plastic bags for recycling. Tied Together aims to raise awareness for this law and thereby increase its impact.


Organic Growth

by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects (Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno, Adriana Cabello Plasencia, Alejandro Espallargas Omedas and Alfonso Aracil Sánchez)

The natural structures are adaptive and can grow up and down in response to context and time. The morphology of the hydrangea plan has been particularly useful. Mophead flowers are large dome-shaped flower heads. Through it’s growth, the plant maintains a good balance with the environment, shouldn’t the ‘city of dreams’ do the same? Architecture has to learn to adapt to changing social requirements and ecological dynamics. The philosophy of organic growth: maintaining a flexibility of ideas that is adaptive becomes crucial. This logic also generates a biophilic component, learning from nature helps to take care of human wellbeing naturally, beautifully and intuitively. 



by Michele Zanella

Galassia is a free standing, geometrically rigorous yet formally expressive, self-sustaining pavilion. The nature of its shape, deriving from the minimal surface generated between two circular loops, is contemporarily expression of maximum structural efficiency and of refined formal completeness. Paced by the array of a bamboo structure and of a densely spaced set of tensed ropes, the pavilion is simultaneously identifying its structural, formal and functional content. Galassia is the depiction of flawless dynamism and internal movements within the city of the future and is the materialization of the concepts of efficiency, sustainability and aesthetic qualities combined together. A pavilion as the architectural crystallization of a collective dream: the process of a sustainable urban metamorphosis.