Agency—Agency: Street Remodel

One of six installations for the digital exhibition by winners of the 2021 League Prize.

After a year of working remotely, we turned to the tactility and physicality of a large scale model. Street Remodel collects eight of our recent projects in order to explore and bring forth latent potentials of everyday infrastructure and daily life to reimagine the civic capacity of the street.

Small-scale infrastructures like fire hydrants are transformed to work double duty as multispecies water fountains and bottle fills to access the city’s potable water supply. Other hydrants are redesigned to create cooling microclimates during the summer months.

Security infrastructures such as concrete jersey barriers no longer operate in the background as acts of control, but rather are recast together as occupiable zones for children to play. Single barriers are altered to become planters and pollinator rest stops along local migration corridors.

Domestic infrastructures like fire escapes are retrofitted into inhabitable vertical gardens that provide privacy and climbing ecosystems. An existing tenement building, as a nod to the early 20th century New York Tenement House Act, receives an addition of screened balconies as operable transitions from the indoors into outdoor chambers to access fresh air and light. While the facade of a nearby existing tenement building is altered and enhanced with a pleated scrim-like screen, augmented openings, and a direct connection to the street. 

As life begins to return to the street, its often-overlooked infrastructures are opportunities to imbue the street with pluralistic capacities, not by building anew but rather by remodeling the familiar.

Project team: Tei Carpenter, Ian Cheung, Erin Jeong, and Erik Jinmatsu Roberson

Image credits: Tei Carpenter / Agency—Agency

Infrastructural elements shift and gather to the foreground of street experience (with Hydrant on Tap; Hydrants for All; Pollinator Rest Stop; Crown House; Green Escapes)

Apartments bleed into the street as the street becomes a collective front yard (with Open Barriers Play Stop; Pollinator Rest Stop; Hydrants for All; Green Escapes; Operable Transitions)

Activity extends upwards from the street to thickened facades (with Hydrant on Tap; Green Escapes; Operable Transitions)

Connections between outdoor chambers and balconies (with Crown House; Green Escapes; Operable Transitions)

Twilight of Street Remodel (with Hydration Station; Hydrant on Tap; Hydrants for All; Open Barriers Play Stop; Crown House; Green Escapes; Operable Transitions)