Decoding Design

In New York, pop-up designs create lasting urban communities

Posting in Cities

Nostrand Park represents a playful example of urban acupuncture by a husband-wife design team.

If you lived in or passed through Brooklyn, NY in the past two years, you might have swum in dumpster pools or hurled glass bottles to relieve stress while recycling. The creative forces behind 2009's Summer Streets Pools and 2010's Glassphemy have staged another urban intervention. Evan Bennett and Silvia Fuster, principals of Vamos Architects, were chosen to be part of DesigNYC's pilot projects for 2011. Their newest project is a collaboration with Masai Marketing and Nostrand Park, a Crown Heights community nonprofit.

Dubbed Destination Nostrand, the project includes pop-up commercial and arts related installations in empty shop spaces along Nostrand Avenue in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn. Initial storefront ideas include a cafe, gallery, and a communal stoop space. The hope is to provide the energy of a Caribbean plaza and create another celebration of city life. Like Vamos' other projects, Nostrand Avenue will focus on the social potential of urban spaces.

The Williamsburg based husband-wife team prefer to create opportunities for events to happen rather than just buildings as static objects. Their projects are small in scale but big in impact. The often temporary works encourage city dwellers to re-imagine life in urban areas and reconsider what makes a community sustainable. As Evan Bennett reveals in an interview for Brooklyn Independent Television's “Caught in the Act” series, most of the designers' projects create something from what appears to be nothing.

Destination Nostrand launched in late June 2011 and the project's progress can be followed on Nostrand Park's website.

Image: Vamos Architects

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure