BMW Converts East Village Building Into Urban Curiosity Hub

BMW Converts East Village Building Into Urban Curiosity Hub

New York City hosts the first stop on a six-year long around the world tour.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 6 august 2011

Today marks the opening of the BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York City. Located in a former abandoned lot in the East Village, the site has been transformed in to a semi-open air event space which over the next ten weeks will offer more than 100 free programs. The primary mission of the Lab is to explore and address issues of contemporary urban life. The Lab is a combination of think tank, public forum, theatre  and community center. Programming at the Lab has been created to spark curiosity and interaction, encouraging visitors to participate in the BMW Guggenheim Labʼs research by generating questions, answers, ideas, and dialogue.

Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow designed the mobile structure. While at first glance it may look to be made out of steel tubing, the entire structure is actually made of carbon fiber. The composite material is super lightweight and serves as a “traveling toolbox.” Many of the amenities within the space like the seating modules and video screens can be lowered from above via motorized cable winches. This makes the space easy to reconfigure. With everything retracted, the site becomes an open plaza.

One of the components which will remain in place most of the time is an interactive group game installation called Urbanology designed by NY-based Local Projects. Played like a cross between chess and role-playing, the game challenges participants to become advocates for education, housing, health care, sustainability, infrastructure, and mobility as they build a city that matches their specific needs and values.

Following the run in New York, the Lab will travel to Berlin then Mumbai. The project will eventually visit a total of nine cities in the next six years.

The full programming schedule, which we were told will be regularly updated can be found at PSFK will periodically bring you coverage of events from the Lab so if you can’t make it to NYC, you won’t miss out completely.

BMW Guggenheim Lab NYC
Houston at 2nd Avenue
Open free of charge Wednesdays to Sundays
August 3 through October 16 2011

The site prior to construction.

Houston St entrance.

Garden adjacent to the Lab which is wrapped in mesh fabric.


Lab interior.

Urbanology game. [photo PSFK]


Night view from Houston street.

Photos provided by BMW Guggenheim unless noted.



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