Los Angeles studio Ball Nogues made news recently when it won the 2012 edition of the Pavillion Speciale in Paris with its proposal for a bright, light cellular structure made of locally-sourced plastic tubing. The competition, which is now in its second year, showcases experimental work by architects under the age of 45. With just three months to complete the structure, Ball Nogues will work intensively with students at the host L’Ecole Speciale d’Architecutre to construct it in the school’s large rectangular garden in Paris’ 14th District before it opens to the public in June.
Each of the cells will be constructed from a length of plastic tubing that will be bent and curled in custom jigs designed and constructed by students, according to Bustler. With sheets of locally sourced materials placed within each cell, the temporary pavilion will provide shade and shelter from rain, while maintaining a smooth, natural form which provides a strong sense of place. With all the materials locally sourced, and able to be shipped as flat, individual components before being assembled on-site, the installation’s transportation has minimal environmental impact.
The pavilion’s structure of around 200 “cells” does pose some technical challenges. Bustler describes it as a “unique structure… a system whose force is derived from the deformation of its materials under force,” whose variables to its shape cause it to be difficult to design through digital mock ups alone. Rather the designs are explored “by testing full-scale mock-ups, and using that empirical information to help inform the process of digital modeling, which is studied in the studio rather than in the field.”
A team of nine experts, including five US based architecture and design specialists each selected eight candidates who work in “emerging practices [and] are experimenting with new styles or techniques and are under 45.” From this pool, a jury selected eight finalists for the Pavilion Speciale. The finalists included DUS Architects from Amsterdam, Fantastic Norway from Oslo, MOS from New York, OSMD from Lisbon, Polaris Architects from Luxembourg, Softlab from New York, and Sou Fujimoto Architects from Tokyo. An international jury selected Ball Nogues design, finding it to be an architecturally interesting, ecologically strong project, who’s interest was bolstered by the pavilion’s use of plastics, noting that “More and more in construction, we see the use of plastic and in this sense it is a very contemporary material therefore to see it used in this way is very interesting.”
The proposals by all eight finalists will be on display when the Pavillion Speciale opens in early June!
Images © Ball Nogues