austin + mergold constructs upturned ship: SuralArk in socrates park
austin + mergold constructs upturned ship: SuralArk in socrates park austin + mergold constructs upturned ship: SuralArk in socrates park
jun 17, 2014

austin + mergold constructs upturned ship: SuralArk in socrates park

austin + mergold constructs upturned ship: SuralArk in socrates park
all images © austin + mergold, with marc krawitz




resulting from their winning design proposal for folly 2014, architecture office austin + mergold have realized ‘SuralArk’ in socrates sculpture park, located in long island city, new york. the structure is an american vernacular reinterpretation of the original noah’s ark, which was perhaps history’s first architectural folly, existing as a fanciful and purposeless construction after its use during the historical flood. on display through the summer of 2014, visitors are invited inside the installation’s canopy, ‘to contemplate the present horizon of socrates sculpture park and NYC, the past, and perhaps, the forthcoming great floods.’

austin+mergold suralark designboom

the folly’s form is suggestive of an upturned ship




while the SuralArk’s overall form references the upturned ship of biblical times, it uses a material palette based in american suburbia, including a frame of standard 2 x 6 lumber and vinyl siding. the designers depict the following scenario: ‘whether this was once a house in levittown now on its way to becoming a boat, or a new hybrid house-boat under construction on the shore of east river in anticipation of the next hurricane flood is not entirely clear.’


although the site is located in new york city, america’s most prominent metropolis, it is also surprisingly close to vast suburban landscapes. incidentally, there is a vinyl sided house across the street from the entrance to socrates sculpture park.

austin+mergold suralark designboom

the installation is an american vernacular reinterpretation of noah’s ark

austin+mergold suralark designboom

the structure is composed of a standard 2 x 6 lumber frame and vinyl siding




the folly is a full scale example of an ongoing series of projects carried out by austin + mergold under the concept of sural / rurban™. these studies examine the evolving in-between landscapes where urban and rural environments fuse. typically, this area has existed mostly outside the realm of architectural discourse, yet presents bizarre and occasionally surreal conditions relating to both local and global forces.

austin+mergold suralark designboom

visitors are invited inside the structure’s canopy

austin+mergold suralark designboom

austin+mergold suralark designboom

light enters the space through the top of the structure

austin+mergold suralark designboom

austin+mergold suralark designboom

one end of the ship-like structure’s frame is rounded, while the other converges but does not meet

austin+mergold suralark designboom

the 2 x 6 lumber members converge at the top to carry a common beam



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