Lead Designer
Prize(s)2nd Place in Architecture Categories / Conceptual
Entry Description

Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

Thanks to its rotating exterior shell… “Windscraper” can face, catch and channel prevailing winds into a series of wind turbines running vertically up two sides. Comprised of polymer membranes stretched over lightweight frames, this double-wall construction has an independent exterior shell supported from tracks along each floor’s slab. Made of ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafloroethylene) the membranes weigh 1% the weight of glass. Linked to geo-thermal heating this double-wall serves as a plenum for conditioned air, while the micro-perforated interior membrane permits conditioned air to filter in. “Smart blinds” line the perimeter. Capable of flipping, contracting and expanding, on command they either deter or collect solar heat gains.

Sited on Coney Island this magical tower references such famous lightweight structures as the Cyclone, Ferris wheel and parachute jump, while aspiring to the poetry of kites on the beach.


For Johannes Knoops a childhood fascination for objects matured into a vocation while designing exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Inspired by professors such as Raimund Abraham he earned a Baccalaureate of Architecture with honors from Pratt Institute, while also meriting the American Institute for Architects' "School Gold Medal," and Pratt's "Certificate for Outstanding Excellence in Design." Already wining international design competitions prior to graduation, his precocious talent led the Architectural League of New York to include him in their annual "Young Architects Forum." After several years in the profession he returned to academia to earn a "Post-professional Master of Architecture" at Yale where he studied under Dean Fred Koetter, co-author of "Collage City," architect Eric Owen Moss, and artist Frank Stella.

From intimate residential interiors to large-scale institutional and critical urban projects his resume includes experience in the offices of Gaetano Pesce, KPF, KPFIA and Jeff Vandeberg.

Though a native to New York City, he has been displaced several times both in body and mind, thanks to a Van Alen Traveling Fellowship, a Dinkeloo Traveling Fellowship, and a coveted Rome Prize Fellowship to the American Academy... all rare and prestigious opportunities to explore the internal while examining the exotic. Rooted in issues of context, his intentions are global. Noted for his provocation "History: an argument against preservation," his more personal projects have been supported by a variety of institutions including the Graham Foundation, the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice and the MacDowell Art Colony. Over the years Knoops garnered an unprecedented three "Unbuilt Architecture Awards,” from the Boston Society of Architects. While his most recent project, "a Marriage Bureau for New York City," earned him an AIA New York Merit Award and Contract Magazine’s 2009 Concept Award. His imaginative ponderings have had audiences at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Clocktower Gallery, the Union of Soviet Architects, and the Urban Center. Widely published, his work can be found in the permanent collection of the Canadian Center for Architecture.

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