The New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition gave entrants free reign to imagine how the Queens landmark could be repurposed for the public. Seattle architects Aidan Doyle and Sarah Wan triumphed with their Hanging Meadows design, which proposes placing a huge transparent dome on part of the pavilion and turning it into a biome – a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat.
The concept would make use of the largest component in American architect Johnson's concrete complex – made up of a ring supported by thick columns, from which cables are strung to form a canopy. Doyle and Wan envision a gridded "dome" structure that is shaped to form three curving peaks and would create an elevated greenhouse underneath.
Visitors would enter the gardens via a spiral staircase leading up from the ground to the underside of the addition, where classrooms and a planetarium would also be housed. Inside, plants native to the region would grow at various levels – accessed and viewed from a series of pathways.
"This project seeks to rekindle the powerful legacy of the NY State Pavilion by repurposing the original structure to create a suspended natural environment," said the duo. "Hanging Meadows will collect, organise and exhibit flora native to particular parts of the Northeastern US."
The winners were chosen from over 250 submissions by a panel of judges from the architecture and design community. The competition was organised by America's National Trust for Historic Preservation and People for the Pavilion group.