Building “Burble Bup” with Bittertang on Governors Island

I spent several days volunteering as a builder for “Burble Bup”, erected in the courtyard of Liggett Hall on Governors Island in New York City. “Burble Bup” is a pavilion of two parts. The first part, a dome, made from individual custom-designed components (“Bups”). The other portion of the pavilion is a landscape zone that gently rises to provide privacy and structural support for the dome.

“Burble Bup” is the winning design by Bittertang, in the second annual competition to design a temporary gathering place made of sustainable materials for the isle in the City of Dreams Pavilion on Governors Island.

“Burble Bup” is a sustainable installation. Some materials are to be recycled; others will be reused. Bittertang anticipates that the non-toxic inflatables will be reused as floating toys at various NYC pools after the summer season ends. The fabric used for the soil tubes will be composted. The Pampas Grass and soil filling the tubes will be distributed to other landscape projects on the island. All of the materials were chosen for their ability to enhance our surroundings after their deployment in the pavilion.


Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich started Bittertang at first glance in the halls of Perloff, UCLA, in 2005. Since then, they have been working together to create anamorphic and neotenous projects ranging from living aquaculture orbs, stuffed animals, piñatas, and sukkahs. In 2010, Ubaldo Arenas began to collaborate with Bittertang to further create humorous and pleasurable spaces. Currently, Bittertang operates out of New York City and Guadalajara.

The “Burble Bup” Design Team includes: Antonio Torres, Michael Loverich, Ubaldo Arenas, Claire Vitto, Adriana Del Muro, Fabien Rondeau, Cesar Ruiz, and Diego Ascencio.

Engineers: Martin Stroble and Thang Le, Severud Associates.

Project Mentor: Rob Rogers, FAIA.


“Burble Bup” is one of the highlights of Figment NYC, a free, annual celebration of participatory art and culture where everything is possible. For one weekend each summer, it transforms Governors Island into a large-scale collaborative artwork. This year on June 10-12.

“Burble Bup” will be on Governors Island all summer long.

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