7 Imaginative Pavilions

by | 09. Oct 2014


Blur Building. Photo courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The temporary nature of pavilions makes them the ideal testing grounds for new, often radical architectural ideas. From Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion to Bernard Tschumi’s deconstructivist follies in Parc de la Villette, pavilions can be powerful and clear architectural statements.

Traditionally, the definition of a pavilion is a free-standing structure, whose architecture makes it an object of pleasure. But the pavilion, as we understand it in modern terms, was popularized by the large international exhibitions of the 20th century, where countries from all over world competed in the most spectacular ways to epitomize their technological capacity.

While contemporary pavilions can still demonstrate technological ingenuity as Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Blur Building at the 2002 EXPO and Foster’s slim canopy in Marseille or a poetic statement about nature and structure as in Zumthor’s 2011 Serpentine Pavilion or the larger scale landscape projects as Ai Wei Wei-curated Jinhua Architecture Park or Kazuyo Sejima’s Inujima Art House Project.

All of the above excellent examples on how a structure of a temporary nature devoid of any real functional purpose leaves room to demonstrate how a passionate and determinate architectural vision.

Vieux Port Pavilion
Norman Foster & Partners
Marseille, France
Blur Building in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland by Diller + Scofidio + Renfro Photo courtesy Diller & Scofidio Blur Building
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland
Jinhua Architecture Park Exhibition Space Photo: Iwan Baan Jinhua Architecture Park
Ai Weiwei
Jinhua, China
Serpentine Pavilion 2009 by SANAA in London, United Kingdom. Aeriel top view. Photo courtesy Serpentine Pavilion Serpentine Pavilion 2009
London, United Kingdom
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 by Atelier Peter Zumthor in London, United Kingdom. Garden view. Photo: Walter Herfst © Peter Zumthor Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011
Atelier Peter Zumthor
London, United Kingdom
Exhibition Pavilion by Sverre Fehn in Oslo, Norway Photo: Thomas Mayer Exhibition Pavilion
Sverre Fehn
Oslo, Norway