In Manhattan, street fairs are repellent to residents – same food, same traffic, same tent. What if they were magnetic – figuratively and literally?

Stick consists of two horizontal magnetic surfaces separated by space-defining, magnetic-edged ribbons. Regularly spaced, slender columns, or sticks, are sleeved into each ribbon. End columns are structurally fixed to floor and ceiling, contributing to the lateral bracing of each ribbon. The multitude of remaining columns has magnetic heads and bases. The magnetic connections allow the ribbons to stick to the floor and ceiling, permitting column relocation and offering infinite adjustment to the ribbons. The sheer number of columns reduces the distributed loads, resulting in smaller column diameters that increase transparency of the ribbons. With fewer fixed connections between modular components, floors, ceilings and ribbons can be independently augmented or reduced without effect to adjacent elements. The ability to adjust the scale of discrete components is a departure from finite envelopes of typical membrane structures.

Stick can be arrayed linearly, exceeding lengths of 200 feet and becoming unmistakably legible against the distracting streetscape of the city. As length develops, the planar floor and ceiling further frame the curvilinear, customizable, polychromatic ribbons of various users. The materiality of the ribbon ensures both flexibility and portability. With this level of flexibility, varied daytime and nighttime programming is possible. At night, the ribbons glow from within.

Attracted to the charge, the city surges through Stick. And for a few days in May, the Bowery has a new storefront.

When a singular disc permanent magnet at the end of a column is attracted to a steel plate, the magnet behaves like a singular bolted connection. Alone, this connection is not sufficient to resist lateral forces, even on a temporary structure with reduced wind load. However, in the myriad arrangements shown, the columns begin to act as a serpentine wall – withstanding lateral forces due to the form of the ribbon, as well as the number of columns. In order to protect against a tenant of the structure from developing an unsavory structural condition (one continuous straight wall longitudinally along the length of the proposal), the structure wants to have several fixed points (the beginning and end of each ribbon) which pass through the base and ceiling to a bolted moment connection. The remaining columns are free to move in any condition.

Client: Storefront for Art and Architecture

Program: Cultural, Pavilion

Status: Complete

Size: 2,000 SF

Location: New York, NY

Architect: Abrahams May Architects (Kyle May and Scott Abrahams)

Images: Kyle May, Scott Abrahams