As the winning entry for the Archifest 2012 Pavilion Competition, the Zero-Waste Pavilion was a collaborative effort by WOW Architects and the Archifest organizers to create a flexible event space that also embodied the festival's central theme of "Rethinking Singapore."
By reusing materials in a new way to extraordinary functions and delight, the Pavilion manages to engage and inspire participants and visitors in line with the thematic program of Archifest.
ZERO-WASTE CONSTRUCTION AND SITE SPECIFICITY
Central to our approach for this pavilion was to create a space that had maximum impact on the Archifest participants, but minimal impact on the site and overall environment. This goal to utilize “zero-waste” construction methods became our guiding principal throughout the design process, detailing, fabrication, on-site installation, and lastly, the dismantling and “afterlife” of the materials used to construct the pavilion.
This zero-waste design considered the full life-cycle of the Pavilion, and the strategy was developed around two highly rapid, deployable and re-useable systems. The first is the main structure composed of steel box-truss system developed for events such as Singapore’s Formula One Night race. The box-truss system, including the roof took just 7 days to assemble.
The design of the pavilion was also site specific with a direct response to the inherent duality of the site. On one side, there is Fort Canning, once know as the “Forbidden Hill” with its quiet, reposeful and almost mythical character. Directly opposite is Clarke Quay, vibrant and bustling with people and activities. In-bewteen is the site (the Foothills) that once was a hive for social activities with the public swimming pool and the National Theatre.
The proposed pavilion seeks to mitigate the duality between the two realms, with its permeable skin. The undulating web inspires curiosity and amazement as well. At certain angles, the membrane looks solid like a wall, and when one moves along it, a “moire” effect is created due to the juxtaposition of the two membranes. When viewed on the perpendicular, the pavilion seems totally transparent and merges with the surrounding buildings and landscape.
RETHINKING ARCHITECTURE AS A COLLABORATIVE PROCESS TO ENGAGE PUBLIC AWARENESS
The limited budget and time for the construction meant that the project relied heavily on volunteers to turn the concept into a reality. This collaboration was on many levels: from the initial planning work with the festival organizers to the contractors and suppliers who donated materials and manpower and to the installation of the many of the design elements like the Wedelia plants and straw mats which required many weekends of planting and production work from volunteers. The architecture was not just in the form of the pavilion but in the organization and programming to get the public involved in the making of the pavilion.
INTERACTIVE SKIN AS SOCIAL PROGRAM AND CLIMATIC RESPONSE
The Pavilion design was intended to be a “highly interactive platform” for the activities of the Archifest. Normally used as a subterranean soil control technology for slopes, the VersiWeb adopted new use as a vertical surface onto which to project, insert, interact and engage with the public. Straw mats were inserted in the “pockets” for visitors to use while they participate in seminars or picnics around the Pavilion. The recycled bottle Wedelia planters were also inserted to add greenery and interesting texture to the membrane.
The notion of public space and place is explored with four distinct zones formed by the "Skin". There is the enclosed naturally ventilated space for seminars and talks, the open to the sky corridor space for break-out conversations, the semi-open sheltered place for art installations and the open air space for picnics and cinema shows.
By cladding this cellular membrane on both sides of the structure, a double skin is created with forms a micro-climate between the skins to provide natural ventilation, shade and rain protection for the Pavilion.
RETHINKING TEMPORALITY OF ARCHITECTURE AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Once the event came to an end the Pavilion was quickly dismantled and its components distributed to various locations around the city to be reused. The steel box-truss was returned to the contractor for future events including Singapore’s National Day parades. The VersiWeb was given to the National Parks Board to be used in Fort Canning Hill’s slopes for control hillside soil erosion. Architecture celebrates icons and permanence, but the Pavilion exemplified the opposite: a celebration in the temporary, with the very reason for existence is based on its capability to be recycled and repurposed into other uses.
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