How To Build An Aquarium Canopy. Canopy Reflector. Discount Window Awnings.

How To Build An Aquarium Canopy

how to build an aquarium canopy

Local Projects in Print Magazine 4/8

Local Projects in Print Magazine 4/8

project manager, Regina Kwon; a senior graphic designer, Katie Lee; a filmmaker, Ariel Efron; and Ian Curry, an interaction designer. Curry, who met Barton when he studied under him at NYU’s ITP, says, “The traditional calculus is that you have to do a lot of work that you don’t necessarily love in order to keep the lights on while you do bits and pieces of great stuff. Local Projects seems to be exempt from that somehow. To me, at least, pretty much everything they do is interesting.”

The firm’s first job came in July 2001, when Barton collaborated with graphic designer Nancy Nowacek to create Memory Maps, part of an exhibition about New York in the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival. The two produced a fluorescent mesh structure meant to evoke a subway car, with huge maps of the city pinned inside. Participants could write stories on vellum and attach them to the map at the places where the events had occurred. More than 2,000 people added their tales, blanketing the city’s neighborhoods. “What we didn’t anticipate was that people would actually talk to each other through the exhibition,” says Barton. “I overheard someone saying, ‘Oh, you went to Midwood High School. I went there, but probably 30 years before you did.’ In a way, we made a very un-New York space: a safe place for visitors to just talk to each other. And that was a total revelation.”

That revelation, and Memory Maps itself, led to Barton’s 2002 commission for what is probably Local Projects’ best-known work: the StoryCorps booth, a mobile studio where anyone can record a narrative of personal history; the recording is then archived by the Library of Congress. The exterior is made up of a three-LCD-panel motion graphics loop, and speakers embedded in the walls allow passersby to hear a sampling of the stories.

The booths proved so popular that many commercial concerns wanted their own versions. When J. Walter Thompson ran a publicity campaign for JetBlue, the agency thought a story booth would fit the image of the airline as Everyman favorite. “We had lots of companies approach us, including car companies and tissue companies,” recalls Barton. But JetBlue “produced a huge stack of crazy-people letters that made us truly feel there were people who passionately wanted to share their JetBlue stories.” The booth, created with MESH Architectures and MASdesign, became the focal point of the campaign, recording customer stories around the country.

Turning viewers into contributors is a feat Local Projects has refined with an endlessly inventive use of technology. Last year, when the New-York Historical Society commissioned the firm to create three media pieces for its exhibition “New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War,” Sterling Ely came up with a way to make visitors feel they were present at the black convention of 1834, during which attendees debated issues pertinent to their future. A film re-creation depicting African-American New Yorkers voting at the convention is paired with an infrared camera ringed by IR LEDs around its lens. By lifting a paddle lined with infrared-sensitive material, museum visitors can register their vote; the infrared light hits the raised paddles, and the light reflects directly back to the camera. “With a bit of additional hardware/software magic,” explains Ely, “we were able to turn that into a method for counting how many paddles were being held up, and display the votes onscreen in real time.”

This kind of participatory drama and technological wizardry emerges again in Local Projects’ work for a new carousel in downtown New York’s Battery Park. A collaboration with the architecture firm Weisz + Yoes, the SeaGlass merry-go-round, tentatively slated to open in 2009, will feature sea creatures whirling under an inverted nautilus made of “smart glass,” which dims when electronically charged. The center axis holds a 7,000-watt Xenon bulb and will rise as the ride begins; cutout images of underwater life will be projected inside the canopy. Riders, starting at the water’s surface, will be plunged into a virtual deep-sea voyage.

Even such a purely pleasurable invention incorporates Barton’s ideas of connection and the importance of place: The ocean theme refers to the fact that Battery Park once was home to the New York Aquarium. This kind of conceptual integrity exemplifies Barton’s concern for the way New York’s history, and its future, are expressed in the built environment.



My wife and I took my mother in law to the aquarium today. These pictures were taken during the visit.

how to build an aquarium canopy

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