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Designed to Disassemble: How Architecture Informs Exhibition Design and Temporary Installations
Architecture in its broadest sense concerns itself with the uprooting of structures that are permanent, cementing themselves within the greater cultural context and history of its humanity, however, where do we place the creation of structures that are designed with the intention to be disassembled. How much meaning and value can these structures hold, knowing they were never designed to last, but to simply take up space for a moment?
Although the majority of architecture in the world has primarily been designed to prioritize function, what makes great architecture in any capacity is its ability to combine function with form to create spaces that not only serve their purpose but are also visually appealing.
Permanence and durability are often the aims of architecture, however, on some occasions creating temporary spaces is favorable in the notion of exhibition design and providing fast assembly infrastructure formed from a desire to activate abandoned spaces in our cities. Temporary architecture continues to carry a striking relevance in today’s society, helping shape public spaces and bearing an impact on the minds of its citizens.
Temporary Architecture: Innovation, Testing-Ground and Entertainment
The following are a few examples of exhibition design and temporary structures and installations that showcase the diversity in their intent and usage while experimenting with materials, form, and a varied subset of colors.
Sarbalé Ke Pavilion / Kéré Architecture
Sarbalé Ke, “the House of Celebration” in Moore, a language spoken in parts of Burkina Faso, is a vibrant installation created for the art program of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The installation features 12 baobab towers, reflecting on the material, texture, and spatial layout of the architecture in his birthplace, Gando, Burkina Faso. The baobab towers create space for visitors to flow through the trunks from all directions, giving way to a light-filled, naturally ventilated, and shaded interior. This evokes both the wonder of daylight in the heart of the baobab, whilst also responding to the immediate need for shade in the spring climate.
Park ‘n’ Play / JAJA Architects
The starting point for the competition project was a conventional parking house structure. The task was to create an attractive green façade and a concept that would encourage people to use the rooftop. The architects proposed a concept to enhance the beauty of the structural grid while breaking up the scale of the massive façade. A system of plant boxes is placed in a rhythm relating to the grid, introducing a new scale whilst also distributing the greenery. The grid of plant boxes on the façade is then penetrated by two large public stairs, which have a continuous railing that becomes a fantastic playground on the rooftop.
LEGO House / BIG
BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and LEGO bring the toy scale of the classic LEGO brick to architectural scale with LEGO House, forming vast exhibition spaces and public squares that embody the culture and values at the heart of all LEGO experiences. The first and second floors include four play zones arranged by color and programmed with activities that represent a certain aspect of a child’s learning: red is creative, blue is cognitive, green is social, and yellow is emotional. Guests of all ages can have an immersive and interactive experience, express their imagination, and not least be challenged by meeting other builders from all over the world.
Red Planet / 100architects
The Red Planet is a public space intervention designed to foster interactions, attract customers and enhance the experience in the privately-owned public space within an open-air Retail Street. The intention was to create something imaginative, inspirational, and innovative, that would attract individuals of all ages to trigger their imagination and creativity, as well as immerse them in a colorful experience.
Design Society Shenzhen / MVRDV
A society led by design is under endless construction and in an expanding smartening universe, there is an emergence of a new world of digitized making. MVRDV’s design for the main exhibition hall of the Sea World Culture and Art Center located in Shekou, Shenzhen responds to the biennial theme; ‘Minding the Digital’ and considers the myriad forms of digital creativities that are critical to China’s shift from a historic manufacturing center to its current reinvention as an innovative hub. The designed labyrinth individualizes and differentiates the display environments for designs and designers, creating a synergy between the floors, giving different perspectives and experiences from alternative viewpoints.
Floating Pavilion / Shen Ting Tseng Architects
The concept of “floating” was derived from the attributes of wind and light. By joining the kite canopy and the curved island platform from above and below, a pavilion that captures breeze and light was created, floating amidst the plaza. Through the interaction between the kite canopy and natural forces, a new way of perceiving the space was provided, and the plaza became a gathering catalyst, an intimate yet public field.
Architecture has consistently shared a blurred line with art, almost akin to the nature of sculpture, as in addition to the necessity to function as an occupiable space, must also carry the need to inspire and bring about an emotional impact. I believe the projects outlined are an example of that intersection between architecture and art.