New Aluminum Casting Creates a Governors Island Pavilion

The seventh annual City of Dreams pavilion, christened Cast & Place and designed by Team Aesop, is now open to the public on Governors Island in New York City.

The interdisciplinary team, consisting of architect Josh Draper of PrePost in New York, Lisa Ramsburg and Powell Draper, engineering consulting firm Schlaich Bergermann Partner, Edward M. Segal of Hofstra University and Max Dowd of Cooper Union, Won the competition In March with their design that re-imagines metallic waste as a resource for the future of the city.

The competition is led by FIG, the New York Emerging Architects Committee (ENYA) and the Association of New York Structural Engineers (SEAoNY) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY). The paper asks designers to rethink the environmental impact of their designs and to promote sustainable design strategies in light of a future that faces depletion of natural resources.

The winning design of Cast & Place is based on materials made entirely from waste: five tonnes of clay excavated for the framework of the structure and 300,000 recycled aluminum boxes (which would be melted and reworked) even. The team had previously built a small-scale prototype panel to test potential challenges, as the method of manufacturing cracked aluminum had never been done before, according to Josh Draper. The prototype proved useful, pointing out difficulties that would have been difficult to anticipate otherwise.

Despite the team's expectation that they were using only aluminum boxes, the melted mixture of trays, sheets and food boxes produced an incoherent alloy. Instead, for their final structure, standard aluminum ingots were used to ensure consistent quality and punctuality. "There were problems of metallurgical production and production that we could not meet with our schedule and our budget," said Draper. However, he added that "this project has prototyped a new method that has potential".

The original proposal also included two side-by-side aluminum frames, but only one was installed on Governors Island (which worked well because the site was smaller than expected).

The pavilion assembly is quite simple: the wet clay is dried and dried on temporary plywood frames, then the molten aluminum is poured into the cracks. Once the aluminum cools and solidifies, it forms a cohesive panel. When the pavilion is disassembled, it will be recycled and converted into benches and lattices for the people who supported the project on Kickstarter.

"This is the beginning of a long conversation and collaboration with the public on waste, structure and light," said Draper. "We wanted to create a space for contemplation, to raise questions about material and waste, to invite people to touch and ask."

The City of Dreams Pavilion is located on the north side of Governors Island (across from Castle Williams) and extends until October 17th.