Students at Montreal's McGill University don't believe a beautiful campus is just something that happens by accident. Rather than depending on school officials and trustees to create a campus pavilion that would encourage socialization and relaxation, the students decided to take it upon themselves to design a place they'd actually like to use. Several design concepts were submitted for consideration around 18 months ago. Since then, the winning design was selected and built. The result is the ContemPLAY pavilion, a dynamic piece of outdoor furniture that conjures up multi-generational perceptions of contemplation and play.
Built entirely out of locally-sourced materials, the pavilion is a three-dimensional mobius strip that is supported by a triangular truss of plywood and steel elements. The wooden lattice work swoops and coasts all around a general seating area below. As one approaches the pavilion, the eye is instantly drawn to the lattice’s mind-bending visual effect. The viewer is subconsciously drawn to the structure, eager to know more about what’s going on inside.
As you get closer to the ContemPLAY pavilion, the eye adjusts to the dizzying effect, and the internal space emerges. The structure’s aesthetic becomes contemplative as one is enveloped by the wall which morphs into the canopy. The light filters through the cladding generating an ambiguous relationship between the notions of inside and outside as well as furniture and shelter.
The team of student designers that spent three months planning the pavilion say it’s an example of socially sustainable public infrastructure that plays with the visual field through form and cladding, it questions the current trend in public space furniture and encroaches in the realm of the abstract sculpture or artifact.