The Good Life: New Public Spaces For Recreation
A Van Alen Institute Exhibition
September 8 – October 1, 2006

This major exhibition The Good Life: New Public Spaces For Recreation, curated by Zoë Ryan, explores the reinvention of urban public spaces to meet the demands of 21st century recreation and leisure. The exhibition will showcase the most promising paradigms of how 21st century leisure - recreation, fun, education, relaxation - is being designed into the everyday physical realm of the built environment. The exhibition will present an array of new projects in cities around the world designed by esteemed international practitioners including Martha Schwartz, Ken Smith, Weiss/Manfredi Architects, Vito Acconci, SHoP Architects, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Walter Hood, David Adjaye, West 8, FAT and Thomas Heatherwick. This exhibition illustrates how such spaces play an essential role in elevating the quality of daily life and urban regeneration. In the current political and social climate it is important that public spaces have strong identities and engaging programs that are accessible to a variety of cultures and different economic groups.

The exhibition will highlight how existing public spaces are being re-envisioned for new recreational and leisure uses as well as show how spaces for play and cultural exchange are being reinvented on former industrial waterfronts, brownfield sites, transportation interchanges, vacant lots, and reclaimed land. The exhibition will also demonstrate that the best and most sustainable public spaces engage a broad range of users, can be designed for either large or small scale interventions, and are flexible and able to change over time to accommodate multiple activities both programmed and unscripted.

Exhibition design

The exhibition design by Amale Andraos and Dan Wood of WORKac utilizes a single gesture – the wiggle – to create a series of discrete and varied environments for the five themes, including a stage for events and a lounge. The wiggle is created from a sinuous band of fabric, manipulated to create openings, windows for video screens, and areas to gather and sit. The exhibition’s visual identity, motion graphics and catalogue are designed by Prem Krishnamurthy and Adam Michaels of Project Projects


photos: Project Projects