ENTRY #382

INDUSTRIAL UP-CYCLING: The Pop-Up SoapBox by Jennifer Siegal / Kenny Chao / David Takahashi / James Peterson

Designing for Free Speech_Render 1

Identify a public space

The public space location par excellence in NYC is Union Square, precisely because of its history as a venue and forum for free speech. Historically, it was the beginning or the final destination for political demonstrations of all types.

In 1882 it was the site for the reviewing stands for the first Labor Day parade stretching down Broadway. In 1997 it was named a National Historic Landmark in honor of that event. Prior to that in 1861, upon the fall of Fort Sumter, it held upwards to a quarter of a million people that is believed to have been the largest public gathering in American history at that time.

For those seeking community Union Square became the primary gathering point following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, hosting spontaneous vigils and memorials to honor the victims.

Today it remains a frequent gathering space for free speech advocates and public demonstrations of all types. Union Square’s past and future histories as a meeting hub in times of upheaval makes it the ideal location for this competition.

View the Current Space

Design Proposal

INDUSTRIAL UP-CYCLING manifests as a dialogue between two major components: the vertical skyscrapers surrounding Manhattan’s Union Square and the vessel, or Pop-Up SoapBox. These are the elements upon which our design and its subsequent implementation strategy are focused—heralding the formation of a new city paradigm.

The Pop-Up SoapBox is intended to be highly flexible, where the electric truck and scissor lift provide an elevated platform for the cloud-like operable ULD (Unit Load Device) to sit upon. All of these primary building materials are up-cycled from waste produced in the aerospace industry. When not being used as a social platform the ULD is deployed and plugs into the façade of any skyscraper.

Using social media and our FreeSpeech App the mobile vessel is easily relocatable throughout Manhattan and the five adjacent city boroughs. Ultimately our goal is the manifestation of a performance space providing the greatest flexibility to support the free speech movement.

Visually engaging, the Pop-Up SoapBox creates an individual or a communal outlet for free speech, complimenting today’s world where life is anything but static.

View the Design Proposal


The proposed project is presently being constructed for a museum exhibition entitled Truck-A-Tecture. The exhibition runs from June 27-August 22, 2014. All funding for the built project is in place. Additional funding would need to be secured to transport the truck from Los Angeles to Union Square, NYC. These funds will be realized through Hatchfund or an equivalent social media outlet for fund raising.

The vehicle measures 12′-0″ (Length) x 6′ x 0″ (Width) x 12′-0″ (Height; when fully deployed). It easily securely parked within any area in Union Square and can be relocated when necessary.

Actors will be located via a social media space or an event may be created impromptu as needed.


Jennifer Siegal, Principal, Office of Mobile Design
Los Angeles, CA
Innovation and unconventional thinking are both hardwired into Jennifer Siegal’s DNA.
This shows in a body of work and research that questions everything, particularly the static, heavy, inflexible architecture that we somehow still expect in a world that is anything but. She is the lead designer on The Pop-Up SoapBox.

Kenny Chao, Intern, Office of Mobile Design
Los Angeles, CA
Mr Chao worked closely with Ms Siegal to help realize The Pop-Up SoapBox design. He will be a third year architecture student at USC this fall.

David Takahashi, Intern, Office of Mobile Design
Los Angeles, CA
Mr Takahashi worked closely with Ms Siegal to help realize The Pop-Up SoapBox design. He will be a third year architecture student at USC this fall.

James Peterson, Owner, Art + Contraptions
Los Angeles, CA
Mr Peterson is fueled by creating works that merge sculpture, engineering, mechanics, geometry, modularity and a love of materials in order to spark interactivity and responsiveness between object and the viewer. He is the lead fabricator on The Pop-Up SoapBox.