Beaux Arts Ball 2023: Sea Change

Asked to design the installation for the Architectural League’s Beaux Arts Ball in 2023, CO Adaptive set out to create a piece that embodies our goals around material circularity within the unique setting of the Brookly Navy Yard’s Building 269 / Agger Fish.

Building 269 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is an exquisite remnant of its time, standing unchanged after more than 80 years. We wanted this installation to enhance its inherent beauty, and aimed to create something that would adapt to, and be distorted by, the expansive open space, highlighting its vast height and immense depth. The building's proximity to the East River underlines its vulnerability to rising sea levels, and it was our desire to bring climate change to the forefront.

The textural and colorful fishing nets that create the transparent tent are simply borrowed. We sourced them from Net Your Problem, which collects used nets from fisheries in Massachusetts, and will send them to recyclers who will reuse them in new product manufacturing after the installation is taken down. Hanging from the tented nets, and providing beautiful natural undulations, is rockweed. This was sourced locally through Lobster Place, who are committed to being good stewards of our community, our resources, and the environment. After the Ball, the rockweed was donated to local urban farms to be composted and added to garden beds, where it increased nitrogen. Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere result in a larger uptake of CO2 by the ocean. Rockweed, alongside other seaweeds, represent important photosynthesizers that, like their terrestrial counterparts, absorb CO2 and thereby regulate the pH levels of the ocean.

By creating an installation that treads ever so lightly, we wanted to draw attention to how much catching up we, as an industry, have to do to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Building 303, Suite 603, 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11205