We just received a tip from friend and architect Matt Hilyard that his firm FTL Design Engineering Studio's prefab pavilion for the UN campus in NYC is now complete, and we have to say it's quite exquisite. The structure, a futuristic porte-cochère, sits adjacent to the UN’s new temporary General Assembly building, and serves as a pop-up entrance pavilion and security screen for the general assembly delegates. FTL designed the interim canopy with sustainability in mind and minimized the amount of materials used to build it, making for a lightweight structure that can be relocated and reused time and again on different parts of the campus. Nested within the surrounding landscape, the canopy's helical arches undulate and twist, creating an artistic entrance to greet international delegates.
The Porte Cochère’s main function is to serve as an entrance pavilion while several historic UN buildings are being renovated – a project that is scheduled to span five years. Taking the temporary nature of the interim buildings into consideration, the environmental impact and sustainability of the Porte Cochère was a prime factor for the UN. As a response to these concerns, FTL introduced the concepts of relocatablity and reusability. Why recycle parts when you can recycle an entire structure? As such, the design is modular with minimal anchorage points and prefabricated steel trusses that allow for quick installation, minimizing the impact of construction crews on site. The result is a lightweight structure that can be relocated to another location on the UN campus or to any other site of the UN’s choosing.
In order to reduce the pavilion’s environmental impact, FTL explored lightness as a visual, physical and sustainable approach, using a minimum of materials. The structure uses two fabrics: a Teflon coated glass fabric (this is the main fabric) and a silicone coated glass fabric for greater translucency in the arches. The high-tech textile membrane serves a dual purpose. It provides support as a working tensile element, equally distributing structural loads, and it diffuses daylight to naturally illuminate the space below. In order to provide ventilation to disperse fumes from idling cars unloading delegates, the pavilion also had open facades and linear vents that run the entire length of the trusses, letting fresh air flow freely throughout the enclosure.