When we were fantasizing about Venice as a reconfigurable jigsaw puzzle, we had in mind, among other things, PARA's submission for an ideas competition to “rejuvenate” the “ruins” of New York City's Roosevelt Island.
Called Mobile Art Park, it's a cultural and sports complex conceived as a “network of floating barges.”
The barges form a migrating network that extends throughout the regional waters of New York’s five boroughs and beyond. Linking together in multiple combinations, the barges accommodate different events at the scale of the entire Southpoint site. Dispersed throughout the city, the barges bridge culturally disparate enclaves with the vibrant communities of artists already thriving in the city.
Each barge, then, could hold a tennis court, a skatepark, a farm and a farmer's market, a forest or a combination thereof. There are wind turbines as well.
Having been reminded recently of MVRDV's Dutch Pavilion languishing in the now shuttered grounds of Expo 2000 in Hannover and also the ruins of Expo 1992 in Sevilla, we propose that in a future universal exposition, all buildings should rest atop floating platforms. Or are actually the floating platforms themselves. Each one would be built by the participating nations in their own ports, anchored there until the start of the expo nears and the armada needs to be assembled.
In this world's fair, the overall theme could be future coastlines, perhaps established by Adriaan Geuze of West 8. He is hired as creative director, because he once curated The Flood.
In his program brief, he will call attention to the fact that “around the world cities are situated on low-lying coastal zones and in delta regions where rivers enter the sea. These are amongst the most fertile areas and are well linked by sea and land to the world. But these are also cities with populations in the millions that are now highly vulnerable because of the threat of flooding.”
Of course, Adriaan Geuze will have plenty of solutions to combat this threat to showcase at the host city, New Orleans.
Or it could be the first ever major international event to be held on international waters, just offshore from Burma's Irrawaddy Delta with a satellite venue a few miles from Bangladesh's Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta.
As its national pavilion, the U.S. will send the supercarrier USS Nimitz, which accidentally rams into Zaha Hadid's pavilion. Tant pis.
When the expo ends, each pavilion will return to their home port, becoming art centers or public open spaces or artificial reefs.