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Anglo-American practice bags Volvo pavilion contest

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Synthesis Design + Architecture has won the international competition to design a pop-up pavilion to showcase Volvo’s new plug-in electric hybrid car

The up-and-coming practice, which started in London and is now headquartered in Los Angeles, saw off more than 150 competitors to land the contest with its ‘elegantly diaphanous orchid-like’ design.

Developed with Buro Happold, the ‘rapidly deployable’ 36m² structure made from a high density polyethylene (HDPE) will be used to promote the car at fairs and presentations around Italy.

The pavilion, which can be collapsed into a small tent bag, will make its debut on 15 September at a yet-to-be-disclosed location.

The architect’s view

The pavilion itself is highly mobile and in our proposal it was shown arriving on site in the back of a V60. Once assembled it looks like one continuous smooth surface without the usual expression of components.
With its embedded photovoltaics the pavilion functions as ‘charger’ for the V60 on display, with the charging cable concealed within and peeling away from the tubing. The use of light weight high-tech materials and photovoltaic power generation makes the pavilion extremely cost-effective for fabrication, transportation, and set up. It does not require a large crew or the use of a truck or other additional equipment for installation. In the broader sense, the pavilion expresses our on-going exploration of integrating performance with dynamic forms and pushing the boundaries of materials and geometries to create compelling and moving spatial experiences.


Project data

Design Team: Alvin Huang, Filipa Valente, Chia-ching Yang, Behnaz Farahi, Yueming Zhou, Joseph Sarafian
Structural Engineering: Buro Happold Los Angeles (Greg Otto, Stephen Lewis, Ron Elad)
Client: Volvo Italy
Opening date: 15 September, 2013
Program: Rapidly depoloyable pavilion to showcase the Volvo V60
Area: 36m²
Materials: HDPE Mesh, Photovoltaic panels, Carbon-fiber

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