Experimental Architecture: 14 Boundary-Pushing Pavilions

Holographic Pavilion
Pavilion Holographic 1

Pavilions Holographic 2

It may not look like much from the outside, but visitors who stepped into the Korean Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Art Biennale were treated to a dazzling immersion of color and light thanks to reflective aluminum mirror panels and diffraction grating film. The holographic effect creates the feeling of being inside a crystal.

Echoviren: World’s First 3D-Printed Pavilion
Pavilions 3D Printed 1

Pavilions 3D Printed 2

The world’s first 3D-printed architecture came in the form of a small pavilion, installed in a redwood forest near Oakland, California. Echoviren is a modular structure made of 585 interlocking components printed over the course of 10,800 hours, and measures 10x10x8 feet. Made of bioplastic, it will be left in that environment to weather, decay and ultimately biodegrade, becoming a part of the ecosystem.

Bubble Pavilion
Pavilions Bubble 1

Pavilions Bubble 2

This fun example of ‘bubbletecture’ is less ephemeral than one made of actual soap bubbles, but still highly portable. Portapavilion is an event space that can quickly and easily be inflated, deflated, packed up and transported from one location to the next. Throughout the summer of 2010, it traveled to 15 parks throughout Londonto host productions by the English National Ballet, the Tate Modern, the Royal Society of Arts and more. The whole structure pops out of the back of a van, and the translucent bubble can wrap around trees or squeeze under bridges to fit within tight spaces.

Zaha Hadid’s Burnham Pavilion
Pavilions Zaha Hadid 1

Pavilions Zaha Hadid 2

Architect Zaha Hadid brought her organic aesthetic to Chicago’s Millennium Park with the shell-shaped Burnham Pavilion, created to mark the 100 year anniversary of David Burnham’s Chicago plan. THe temporary installation is made of a tent-like lightweight aluminum structure covered in a tensile fabric.

Inflatable Diamond Grid Pavilion
Pavilions Diamond Inflatable 1

Pavilions Diamond Inflatable 2

Another inflatable pavilion takes a different approach with a diamond grid of inflatable tubes arranged in the atomic structure of diamonds. Light and air shafts penetrate the structure to provide natural light and ventilation, and at night, these shafts radiate light ‘like a diamond.’