In the summer of 2008, exactly forty years after French student activists took to the streets with their rallying cry of "Under the pavement, the beach!" a new vision of liberation took shape in the courtyard of MoMA's P.S.1. Designed and built by WORK Architecture Company in 2008 for the museum's Young Architects Program, the installation Public Farm 1 (PF1) consisted of a large cluster of cardboard tubes topped with more than four dozen species of plants and vegetables. Conceived as a medium for educating citizens about sustainable urban farming techniques, the fully functioning, produce-growing design emphasized local intervention over mass production and pointed the way toward a more holistic, integrated approach to urban life. Leaving behind the urban beach, the updated slogan "Abovethe Pavement, the Farm!" embodies the current generation of young architects preoccupations and hopes for the city of the future. Using the PF1 installation as an ideal model for a new breed of architectural experimentation, Above the Pavementthe Farm! is an urban manifesto designed to reinvent our cities as much-needed laboratories of experimentation and learning. Keeping in mind our society's gradual shift from being industrial to postindustrial, Above the Pavementthe Farm! proposes an agriculture-based approach to city planning, envisioning fully functioning farms located atop roofs and situated within city blocks as a means for providing new sources of locally grown food to urbanites. Through visually dynamic narratives documenting the development of the project from conceptualization to on-site building, Above the Pavementthe Farm! provides ahow-to guide, including do-it-yourself plans and diagrams, for implementing urban farms on lots and rooftops in metropolitan regions across the country. Inspired by the highly visual mass-market paperback "idea books" popularized by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s, Above the Pavementthe Farm! is a critical yet playful look forward into the future of our cities.
Amale Andraos and Dan Wood are the founders of New York City-based WORK Architecture Company.