Living Pavilion v1

Site: Governors Island, NYC 
Client: FIGMENT 
Program:  Temporary Pavilion, winning entry for international design-build competition 
Competition Co-Sponsors:  FIGMENT, ENYA, SEAoNY 
Completion Date: June 2010

Behin Ha's "Living Pavilion V1" was selected as the winner of the "City of Dreams" design/build architectural pavilion for the 2010 summer season on Governors Island.  After the competition phase of the project, the Pavilion's form was reconceptualized to meet new site and budgetary requirements.  With the help of the sponsoring organizations (FIGMENT, ENYA, & SEAoNY) and a team of consultants and volunteers, Behin and Ha built Living Pavilion V1 on the Parade Grounds at Governors Island.


Measuring 30 ft long x 20 ft wide x 14 ft high, the pavilion's support structure consists of a series of exterior-grade plywood ribs, with 437 recycleable plastic dairy crates connecting the ribs to provide lateral stability.

pavilion assembly sequence_diagram.jpg

Each milk crate planter is composed of a mixture of mature and young Liriope Muscari and Liriope Spicata plants (all of the mature Liriope were generously donated by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Green Thumb program).  Burlap sheets and plastic grating helped to anchor the Pro-Mix lightweight soil and Liriope in place.  The top-side of each planter is planted with hardy Fescue mix to allow grass to grow throughout the summer season.  The Fescue grass provides shade and cooling for the Liriope roots from the harsh summer sun.

The pavilion surface consists of a mix of various Liriope species and empty milkcrates.  The empty milkcrates serves as 'light pockets' to allow light to filter through the canopy.


The pavilion's surface is planted with hanging shade-tolerant plants that provides an environment maintained at a cooler temperature because of evapotranspiration.

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A weekly maintenance routine of pruning and water allows the plants to remain lush and healthy throughout the summer season.  The watering was also an added bonus for visitors who enjoyed cooling off from the summer heat.

In addition to using materials effectively in its construction, Living Pavilion V1 strives to embody and communicate an ethic of re-use, recycling, and re-purposing.  By using a common and ubiquitous object – the milk crate – in an uncommon way, we hope the project will instigate those who experience it to see new potentials in their everyday world. 

All of the milk crates and plants used in the pavilion were distributed to individuals, parks, and non-profit organizations throughout the New York metropolitan area after the pavilion's dismantling in October 2010.  Many of the liriope plants from the Pavilion are currently thriving in various NYC parks.

Designers:  Ann Ha and Behrang Behin
Structural Analysis:  Yunlu Shen
Green Wall Technology:  Kari Katzander and Sarah Bray
Construction Foreperson:  Daniela Morell
Fabrication:  Tietz-Baccon
Plant Supplier:  NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Green Thumb program

The following people generously donated their time to help build the project:

Max Akulin, Venesa Alicea, Andy Beck, Breta Bishop, Rusty Brinkman, Anthony Buccellato, MaryBeth Burton, Keefe Butler, Gabriel Caycedo, Kristen Chin, Karen Chubak, Carol Crump, Chris Cummings, Malgorzata Danilczuk-Danilewicz, Margot Danilczuk-Danilewicz, Anya Dayneko, Nicholas Dellanno, Eve Dilworth, Garry Engleberg, Dillon Font, Moishe Friedman, Martina Gawrych, Cessi Hessler, Alexandra Hofgartner, Nick Hohn, Judy Hugentobler, Aysha Jalil, Rebecca Jones, Khalsa Kaur, Bareket Kezwer, Jamie Kibburtz, Soo- Youn Kim, Tom Klaber, Steve Koller, Shamil Lallani, Paul Laroque, Linda Leith, Jook Leung, Nina Mahjoub, Berardo Matalucci, David Menokovich, Shirley Menokovich, S. Scott Miller, Matthew Moser, Tara Mrowka, Margaret Murray, Josh Newman, Christine O’Heron, Lydia Orsi, Beatriz Ortiz, Shinjinee Pathak, Vanessa Paulsen, Matthew Phillips, Damir Pozderac, Maria Rivera, Amanda Rivera, Misael Rojas, Zohn Rosen, Lourdes Saladino, Zal Sayari, Jessica Sheridan, Pearson Smith, Shayne Smith, Katie Stokien, John Toniolo, Irmak Turan, Nicholas Warner, Paula Wood, Michael Zick Doherty