The Waterpod Project, 2009
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mary mattingly waterpod
Two Points, 2009
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Waterpod, 2009
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Big Red in the Sun, 2009
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Universe, 2009
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Extension, 2009
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Ernesto, 2009
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Untitled (Communal Space), 2009
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Morning, 2009
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The GMD Shipyard, 2009
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Backyard, 2009
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Skate, Trellis, Crew, 2009
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Deck, 2009
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A Taxonomy, 2009
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Alison in the Kitchen, 2009
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Ian and GMA, 2009

Link to Process | Link to Video | Link to Thank You | Link to Waterpod Project Website

The Waterpod demonstrates future pathways for nomadic, mobile shelters and water-based communities, docked and roaming.

It embodies self-sufficiency and resourcefulness, learning and curiosity, human expression and creative exploration. It intends to prepare, inform, and provide an alternative to current and future living spaces.

In preparation for our coming world with an increase in population, a decrease in usable land, and a greater flux in environmental conditions, people will need to rely closely on immediate communities and look for alternative living models; the Waterpod is about cooperation, collaboration, augmentation, and metamorphosis.

As a malleable and autonomous space, the Waterpod is built on a model comprised of multiple collaborations. The Waterpod functions as a singular unit with the possibility to expand into ever-evolving water communities; an archipelagos that has the ability to mutate with the tides.

The Waterpod is mobile and nomadic, and as an application for the future it can historicize the notion of the permanent structure, simultaneously serving as composition, transportation, island, and residence.

As with architecture, art is largely about stories: stories of its inhabitants, its community, its makers and their reflections on the past or expectations of the future.

Based on movement, the Waterpod structure is adaptable, flexible, self-sufficient, and relocatable, responsive to its immediate and shifting environment.

The Waterpod is an extension of body, of home, and of community, its only permanence being change, flow, and multiplicity. It connects river to visitor, global to local, nature to city, and historic to futuristic ecologies.

With this project, we hope to encourage innovation as we visualize the future fifty to one hundred years from now. This will be the first of many.



mary mattingly waterpod
Mary Mattingly, Cory Marvis, and Dockmaster Frank J. Carnesi, November 2008

Origins and Evolution of the Waterpod (click for website)

Several months of conceptual work included creating: designs; theoretical treatises describing the mission and objectives of the Waterpod; business plans and budgets; maps and itineraries; one-page descriptive documents, two-page descriptive documents, architectural layouts; and artistic and scientific programming timelines. Pages and pages of grant applications were prepared to put this project in front of the appropriate city, state, and federal agencies ranging from the United States Coast Guard, to the NYC Dockmaster Unit, to our legal counsel Blank Rome, to barge companies, art collectors, investors, in-kind donors (solar panels and water purification equipment, towing services and shipyard facilities), and fiscal sponsors. I also established an LLC to assume the financial and operational risk.

Creating a cohesive support network among government, legal, private, and public groups was essential for this project to gain the support needed to execute such an undertaking in New York City. Before we even started the buildout, the Waterpod represented hundreds of thousands of dollars of work contributed on an in-kind and pro bono basis, without which, this project would never have gotten off the ground.

In one capacity or another, many people stood by me throughout the entire journey believing that the project would become reality: Mira and Derek Hunter, Eve K. Tremblay, Leslie Bocskor, and Cory Mervis.

A few key people reached out at critical points to move the project forward. Among these are Allison Jaffin at NYC Deputy Mayor Patti Harris’s office, Jamie Bennett at the Department of Cultural Affairs, and Maxeme Tuchman from the Mayor’s Office of Special Projects. Richard Singleton from Blank Rome, LLC and his colleague Glen Oxton met with me regularly to review my progress. They convinced the Blank Rome Executive Committee to take on the project as a pro bono assignment. When the Waterpod was able to draw support and inspiration from these individuals, the missing pieces fell into place.

As the project began to develop a solid base of support, other highly talented teammates came on board, including John McGarvey, Alison Ward, Carissa Carman, Lonny Grafman, Dockmaster Frank J. Carnesi, Rik van Hemmen at Martin Ottaway, Evan Korn and Jessica Rosenfield at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management, U.S. Coast Guard Commander Brian S. Gilda, Sara Reisman at Percent for Art, Ken Hollenbeck, Richard Massey, and many others. In the final stages of planning, other invaluable collaborators joined our effort, weaving the fabric that made the Waterpod work, including co-curator Ian Daniel, Mayra Ciment, Nicole Pilar, Kristen Parker, Janet Persia, and scores of talented and enthusiastic volunteers.


Waterpod News Reel

RADAR, Waterpod

Voice of America, Waterpod

Judith West's "Getting your Money's Worth," Waterpod



Constructing a Business Plan: The Waterpod Business Plan is the most important document I constructed. It helped pave the way for busineses and institutions understanding of the project’s goals. To download the Waterpod Business Plan click here

Waterpod Map and Tour: This document was created to assist visitors with a general background to the project. To download the document, Waterpod: Waterpod Map and Tour, click here

Future, Present, and Past of the Waterpod Project: The Waterpod is a living sculpture and a continuously evolving world. This document was made to further the project in today’s context. To download the document, Waterpod: Future, Present, Past click here

mary mattingly waterpod | @marymattingly | c.2006-2022 mary mattingly