I have always believed that buildings should adapt to the environment rather than trying to impose themselves to it, but if I were asked to design a pavilion, I would start by seeking ways to lose all my preconceived ideas about what it “should be.”
The temporary nature of the pavilions, gives us the chance to experiment with independence, which is a very rare thing to find in the usual architecture. It is a liberating experience; a great opportunity given to us architects to let go of all limitations imposed by the environment, the client, the program… it is an experiment that allows us to vent our thoughts and ideas, giving us the possibility to dream big and even see our dreams come true. In this type of architecture anything goes; we can do what we could not do in any other project.
Ephemeral architecture is the common ground between architecture and art; it is the closest to a sculpture out there. And because of this similarity, as it happens with art, we might think that these giant sculptures are “beautiful” or that they are not, but it does not really matter, because, in this case, beauty is irrelevant. The only important thing is the building´s capacity to make us become disconnected from reality; to give us a chance to dream with a different world, one that does not have to be better or worse, just have to make us think differently.
These are buildings like no other, with more design opportunities than any other, and therefore they cannot be analyzed under the same criteria as normal architecture. Many times I have seen absurd criticisms (made by architects) towards these buildings, based on unrealistic beauty standards. Here is what I think about that, first: “Beauty is subjective” and second: “If you cannot propose unexpected ideas when designing a pavilion, then when?”
The challenge for an architect who is going to design a pavilion is to break paradigms, change minds, make people fly… In a project of this kind, even the “temporary residents” should be able to travel with their imagination and go further than they never would have thought.
It is these visitors, “temporary residents” who are an important part of the soul of the building. In these constructions destined to disappear, the “life” of the building is perceived through the participation and interaction with the public, which gives us, the architects, the ability to deepen in multiple exciting possibilities of design.
It is this spectrum of possibilities that allows us to create without brakes. The function is associated with symbolic meanings and the concept of time is the main (if not the only one) element to consider, everything else, from the shape to the materials, is a beautiful experiment.
The international architecture exhibitions, which bring together a group of countries whose primary purpose is to translate in these constructions the essence and image of themselves they want to offer the world, encourage visitors to explore cultures through architecture. What could be better for a person that having the opportunity to travel and meet all (or nearly all) countries of the world, without leaving a restricted area?, what better way to fly that this one?
and, what better challenge for an architect that being able to give people the ability to fly with their imagination?
Danish Pavilion. Shanghai 2.010