Harvest Dome from Broken Umbrellas

Glowing Harvest Dome 2.0

The Harvest Dome 2.0 first came across our radar in 2012 when the Trespa Design Center featured the project as a segment in their “Visionaries” series. Amanda Schachter & Alexander Levi of SLO Architecture envisioned and created the floating installation conceived for Inwood Hill Park Inlet, which calls attention to New York City’s waterways and watersheds. 

the sculpture made of broken umbrellas against a bright blue sky

Together with local teens, SLO Architecture gathered discarded storm-snapped umbrellas and assembled them into a giant dome as a revelation of the city’s accumulated waterborne debris. One of several of Schachter’s and Levi’s investigations along the City’s waterways, Harvest Dome furthers the team’s desire to reveal New York City’s primeval ecologies through architectural experimentation. The event at Trespa in which this project was highlighted shed light on the fact that the Dome transfigures the workings of the ecosystem at Manhattan’s northern tip, the site of the island’s last remaining saltmarsh. 

the sculpture is luminous at twilight

The inlet at Inwood Hill Park, a remnant of Spuyten Duyvil Creek’s marshland, reconfigured and dredged in 1895 to create the Harlem River Ship Canal, is home to saltwater cordgrass, a species particularly adept at trapping and converting flotsam into the nutrient-rich mud called detritus, which supports abundant life on the marsh. During the course of a month, the buoyant sphere rose and fell with the tide, alternating between floating and sitting on the mud-flat which is uncovered twice daily, as it engaged the circadian action of the water and emerged from the mud-flat as a curiously out-scaled harvesting of urban flotsam.

Harvest Dome 2.0 against a White Sky

SLO was also tapped for recognition for its design innovation by AIA New York for its “New Practices New York 2012” competition, the winners of which were shown at the Center for Architecture that year. The Harvest Dome, which was originally funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, figured in SLO’s being tapped for this exhibition. Generous donations made through the Architectural League of New York—the project’s fiscal sponsor—helped make the sculpture a possibility. The reason we feel this post was worthy of our “From the Archives” series is because the visionary architects took what we New Yorkers see so often trashing the sidewalks and turned the refuse into an ethereal sculpture. 

Posts for Design Diary are written by Saxon Henry unless a guest author is noted.

Image credits: Andreas Symietz

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