Blindsided is a modular, steel-framed grid designed for Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City. It allows the park’s users to reconfigure its pavilion structure in myriad ways to accommodate various needs, from an individual classroom to a backdrop to a stall. The endless spatial configurations happen in seconds, are zero-cost, and provide a consistent permeable barrier between the park’s parking and extracurricular spaces.

Strong but shy, the neutral design avoids distraction from or competition with the sculptures, while facilitating the park patrons’ increased interest in educational and community activities; and its position and form respond to the axis of the entryway and outside street, enhancing the park’s visual presence upon approach. Due to its multiple configurations, it can turn its back on the parking, face the sculpture park, or allow a continuous connection through the site, enabling various experiences upon entry.

Blindsided’s frame is seven bays long, each bay measuring 10’ x 10’ x 12’ tall. Its roof overhangs the steel grid to cover an area of 16’ x 74’, providing almost 1,200 SF of additional covered space for activities. Between each steel column is a 10’ wide x 12’ tall reinforced aluminum blind, set into an aluminum channel on both sides. The 22 blinds can be open, partially closed, or fully closed. In addition, there are three orientations of the blinds themselves: front closed, open, or back closed. From this highly adaptable design, there are over four million different possible configurations.

Each scenario brings a different face to the pavilion, allowing for users to find endless creativity through the easy reconfigurations: private tutoring can take place in a single closed bay, a large event can occur in the space when fully open, or each bay can turn into a separate booth to host a pop-up market. Sides of blinds can be painted, as well, for further customization, for example displaying a mural on one side (i.e., when fully closed) and a neutral wall on the other (when closed).

Because the pavilion is designed with open areas along two sides, it also accommodates expansion through additions such as rain protection or rainwater collection facilities, screens, solar panels, or larger structural extensions, while allowing for open-space activities and programs within it.

Client: The Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park

Program: Cultural, Pavilion

Status: Complete

Size: 700 SF

Location: Queens, NY

Architect: KM,A (Kyle May, Dillon Wilson, Katie Gleysteen)

Images: KM,A