Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day With Fast Trash Exhibit Featuring Roosevelt Island's Unique Pneumatic Tube AVAC Garbage Collection System At Gallery RIVAA


Can Roosevelt Island teach other communities in the United States and around the world how to choose their garbage collection infrastructure system? That's the intriguing question asked by a new exhibit opening at Gallery RIVAA today thru May 23 titled Fast Trash organized by architect Juliette Spertus and showcasing Roosevelt Island's AVAC garbage system. According to Fast Trash:

What if we radically changed the way we move garbage through the city?

Fast Trash explores this question through the lens of a novel approach to garbage collection that has served Roosevelt Island since 1975. Part infrastructure portrait, part urban history, the exhibition draws on archival materials, original maps, photographs, drawings, diagrams and video interviews to bring an invisible system to the surface, and asks what a community built around progressive policies and technologies can teach us about how we choose our infrastructure.

The NY Times City Room Blog reports on Roosevelt Island's AVAC system:
Underneath the 40-block strip of land between Queens and Manhattan known as Roosevelt Island is a complex system of pneumatic tubes that connects the island’s 12,000 or so residents. But it’s not mail that’s hurtling through them at at 30 miles an hour. It’s garbage. Vacuum cleaners, Christmas trees and last night’s unfinished dinner have all passed through the intestines of the Automated Vacuum Assisted Collections facility, a pneumatic trash system built in 1975 that seems forever ahead of its time...
Ms. Spertus provides the pictures below and descriptions from the Fast Trash exhibit. All of the pictures were taken by Kate Milford.
View from Main Street looking south of the AVAC facility located between the fire station and Motorgate garage. All three buildings were designed by Kallmann McKinnell Architects in 1974.
View inside the AVAC facility where the garbage tubes run along the roof over the control room to a 'cyclone separators'. The waste is sent down to a compactor inside the blue chambers where it is pressed into sealed containers for transport. The air is cleaned in dust collectors and sent out a pair of stacks.
Chief stationary engineer Jerry Sorgente in the AVAC control room with garbage tubes running overhead.
Oiler Billy Dash changing the oil in one of the six 300 horse power exhausters that generate the vacuum for system.
Operations diagram presenting the major components of the system from the RIOC archives, probably from the 1971 feasibility study by engineers Gibbs and Hill.
Chief stationary engineer Jerry Sorgente in the AVAC control room.
View of the two main tubes as the come out of the ground and enter the facility. The left tube serves all residential buildings on the west side of the Island and the right tube serves the East side.
View of garbage inside the compactor from the viewing portal and the reflection of the surrounding equipment.

An opening reception for the Fast Trash exhibit will be held tonight at the Gallery RIVAA from 6 -9 PM.

A symposium on Garbage Collection and the Future of Cities will be held on May 6 at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service with panelists from Roosevelt Island, London, Stockholm, Barcelona, Toronto and Montreal.
...The purpose of the panel is to open a dialogue around the role of garbage collection in the future of dense urban environments. Independent experts, planners and officials from cities in Europe and Canada that have experience with underground waste transportation systems will describe the process, and the context in which the decision was made...
UPDATE 4/23 - Last night's opening reception was well attended and a huge success! Here are some scenes inside



and out.


For many of the people attending the Gallery RIVAA reception this was their first time on Roosevelt Island.

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