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Audi Urban Future: New York Project (Mulberry Street)

May 10th, 2011 by Stu

Audi showcased futuristic ideas around urban planning late last week in Manhattan. The luxury automaker, in partnership with the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for a New City, empowered 5 NYC architecture firms to envision what life could look like in the Big Apple circa 2030. A pop up installation at the Openhouse Gallery in Soho ran  May 7 – 9 and featured a 50 ft, multi level luminescent model of NYC in 1:1200 scale aimed at bringing the diverse panel of ideas to life.

The creative blitz toward corporate responsibility started in Venice, Italy last year with the brand’s inaugural “2010 Audi Urban Future Award“, the German architectural competition that every two years invites six renowned firms to develop progressive urban planning visions for the chance to win 100k Euros. The original concepts were on hand for the New York exhibit, including the winning entry by J. Mayer H. Architects from Berlin. It portrays a digital fabric wrapped around the city where augmented reality and social media play leading roles in the physical space people occupy and interact with.

To bring the Venice concepts to life in New York City, Audi partnered with the online architect community Architizer to identify five up-and-coming practices [LEONG LEONG, MATTER PRACTICE, ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTSlabDORA and THEVERYMANY, LLC]. These firms were challenged with taking the visions of the architects showcased in Venice and applying them to the City of New York. Each team was given a different neighborhood of focus.

There was no shortage of wild ideas showcased inside the hip Soho installation. Leong Leong, a firm specializing in culture and urbanism, focused on the Hudson Yards area with a biodiverse ecologies concept the firm describes as “reclaimed by nature” In addition to wild life, the concept includes the use of by gigantic net structures suspended between buildings  that incubate fauna.

This is not the first time Audi has played city planner. Early last year, the brand announced a partnership with the city of San Francisco and the Union Square Business Improvement District on a new public space – a continuous pedestrian promenade along Powell Street between Ellis and Geary – in the heart of SF’s commercial downtown.

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