Pop-Up Pavilions: 15 Playful Temporary Architecture Installations

Pavilions are like playgrounds for architects and designers, allowing them to show off what they can do when they really set their imaginations free. Unfettered by the typical limitations of a permanent structure, they can experiment with new materials and processes, potentially producing innovations they can apply to other structures. These pavilions are often subversive in the urban environment, too, taking over public spaces and giving them back to the people or creating micro housing that falls within grey areas of the law.

Transforming Street Cinema in Venice by Omri Revesz

Created for a V-A-C Russian contemporary art foundation exhibition at the Venice Film Festival 2017, this pop-up cinema celebrated the 100th anniversary of the start of the Soviet Revolution. The modular wooden structure is collapsible, its design inspired by the logic of Russian constructivism. Its wooden frame is on wheels set into rails so it can expand to make more space for performances, or contract to create a darker, more intimate setting.

Algae Dome in Denmark by SPACE10

IKEA’s ‘Future living lab,’ known as SPACE10, debuted its ‘Algae Dome’ in Denmark a couple weeks ago, demonstrating how we might be able to grow “the supercrop of the future.” Designed by a team of engineers, the dome-shaped structure supports a network of transparent hoses, regulating their sun exposure so algae grows in the water inside them. The dome produced 450 liters of microalgae in just three days of its demonstration, which SPACE10’s chef crafted into such foods as ‘spiraling chips.’

Super Hot Pavilion in Bucharest by Morag Myerscough

Designed for the 7th edition of the ‘Summer Well Festival’ in Bucharest, Romania by artist Morag Myerscough, the ‘Super Hot’ pavilion is envisioned as a fun and whimsical place to stage and take in performances. There’s space within the structure to hang out, dance, play or zoom down a slide.

Wave of Buckets in Mexico City by Factor Eficiencia

Hundreds of painter’s buckets are connected into a walkable structure that curls up into a wave at either end, occupying the central Alameda Park in Mexico City. Designed by Factor Eficiencia and 5468796 Architecture, the installation uses the bucket as a symbol of liberation of public spaces. In Mexico, it’s common for entrepreneurs to use buckets to block off certain areas of the city so they can aggressively charge for parking.

Urban Camouflage Pavilion in London by PUP Architects

PUP Architects wanted to disguise their pop-up, entitled ‘H-VAC,’ as ordinary rooftop mechanical equipment. Do you think they pulled it off? The designers are taking advantage of UK building legislation that makes it legal to install rooftop equipment without planning permission; they believe that if you can sufficiently disguise rooftop addition as infrastructure, thousands of new micro dwellings could be added to London and other cities. The temporary structure is clad in waterproof tetra-pak shingles and includes two rooms.