What do you get when you combine giant pink doughnuts, soil filled tubes, and New York City’s favorite arts festival? Burble Bup, an eco-friendly pavilion that will host performances all summer long on Governor’s Island as part of FIGMENT, the park’s annual summer festival. Created by sustainable design firm Bittertang, Burble Bup can only be described as playful. With a roof made from iridescent inflatable tubes and a landscaped base of soil-filled fabric, every element in Burble Bup was chosen for its ability to enhance our surroundings after being used in the structure. At the end of the summer, every piece will be recycled or reused.
Burble Bup beat more than 80 other submissions to win the design for FIGMENT’s second annual City of Dreams Pavilion competition. Sponsored by the Emerging New York Architects Committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York, the competition’s goal is to create a pavilion that has “net zero impact and that serves as a prototype for a new, truly sustainable, way of thinking about design and construction.”
The base of Burble Bup is constructed of soil and bark filled fabric tubes that create unique sitting and climbing spaces with spiral-like private alcoves. Soil berms gradually mount, forming a naturally landscaped series of benches for visitors to enjoy the performances that will take place in the pavilion. In a statement, FIGMENT officials describe Burble Bup as “a secret hideout that lures people into its soft and magical interior through the use of a colorfully inflatable roof. Here they are enticed to stay, mingling among new friends and upon plush soil tubes. The pavilion isn’t a space of circulation but of rest and social interaction.”
The dome of the pavilion is constructed from “bups,” the individually designed inflatables created from non-toxic material. They can be connected in a variety of ways, allowing for a unique, textured roof. At the end of the summer, they will be donated to city swimming pools to be used as flotation toys. All of the soil in the base will be distributed around Governor’s Island for landscaping, and the fabric will be composted.
Burble Bup will be erected in the courtyard of Liggett Hall by Memorial Day, assuming that FIGMENT raises the rest of the funding and secures the necessary permits. To help Burble Bup become a reality, you can make a tax deductible donation here. FIGMENT’s festival will run June 10 to 12.