Philadelphia architectural firm Austin+Mergold won top honors for its part ship, part house large-scale art installation, which prominently features CertainTeed Encore vinyl siding. The winning installation rose above 171 submissions from 17 countries in the annual Architectural League of New York’s Folly 2014, a competition among emerging architects to design and build a large-scale project for public display at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, N.Y. 

The sculpture, named Sural Ark, in reference to Noah’s Ark, takes the form of an overturned ship and a typical suburban house. It spans more than 50 feet with an elevation of 16 feet and is comprised entirely of 2-by-6 lumber and a patchwork of vinyl siding — a material often used on nearby Queens residences. Austin+Mergold chose the materials after extensive abstract and hands-on research, in addition to representing the increasingly blurred lines between city, suburban environments and rural living in America today. 

“We had worked with CertainTeed vinyl siding products on a project in Central Pennsylvania a few years ago and noticed the ability of the vinyl material to bend and twist yet still have the capability of interlocking systematically to create a water-tight joint,” said Jason Austin, principal of Austin+Mergold. “We continued to test and explore the parametrics and formal attributes of the vinyl siding system in two art installations that were exhibited in Philadelphia galleries. We discovered that the most economical grade of vinyl siding provided for maximum flexibility, producing the most aggressive curvature. We had also tested other competitive vinyl siding manufacturers, but CertainTeed performed the best.”

SuralArk utilizes Encore Double 4-inch Clapboard vinyl siding in the Desert Tan, Sterling Gray, Natural Clay, Oxford Blue and Sandstone Beige colors. The affordable, high-quality panel features an attractive, natural woodgrain appearance.

The upturned ark also echoes Socrates Sculpture Park’s past while considering the future, and perhaps a possible escape from rising tides that submerged the park in October 2012 during Superstorm Sandy. It typifies the mission of the Folly competition, which was created to explore large-scale installations that help to link the worlds of art and architecture.

SuralArk was on display, providing shelter and contemplative discussion for thousands of park visitors this summer. To learn more about the exhibition, visit For more information about Austin+Mergorld, visit

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