Driftwood pavilion by AA Unit 2 opens

| 76 comments

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Here's some pictures of the Architectural Association Summer Pavilion, designed by students from Unit 2, which opened today in London's Bedford Square.

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Based on a concept by 3rd year student Danecia Sibingo, the pavilion is the fourth in the annual AA Summer Pavilion series.

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Driftwood pavilion will be open until 25 July.

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See our previous story about the Driftwood pavilion for more images and info.

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See our top ten most popular stories about pavilions.

Here's some text from the AA:

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Architectural Association Celebrates Talent with Unveiling of Summer Pavilion

The AA School will take over Bedford Square, London on 3 July 2009 with its annual celebration of young architectural talent – showcasing the architectural intelligence that defines it as the world’s most renowned and influential school of architecture.

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Over 3000 visitors from across the world will come to view AA School Summer Pavilion, Driftwood and Projects Review on 3 July.  This is an early chance to view this incredible celebration of hot young architectural talent.

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| 76 comments

Posted on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 12:50 pm by Brad Turner. See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • The Tutor

    Firmness, comodity and delight…… unless I am missing something? The Smithson’s ‘The Castle and the Pavilion’ categorised all architecture in two groupings. Castles are heavy programmatically intensive buildings like airport terminals or hospitals. Pavilions are ehpemeral lightweight, temporary and programmatically light.

    So ditch firmness (heavy built) and ditch commodity (substantial accommodation) and you are left with delight. The pure and simple uncomplicated joy of building, in harmonic proportion that is pleasing to the eye, activated by shadow, a joy to behold and to physically negotiate. (I am pretty sure thats architecture?)

    Apparently you guys are Philistines. Your society has no place for joy nor delight. You live in a practical world of utility and problem solving. Your vision, and your definition of the discipline you practice is so narrow you cannot seem to accept the uncomplicated joy of building! (Unless you are prejudicing the pavilion based on technique.)

  • tanya telford – T

    I still think this a really good project, and understand the importance of the students learning like this, an amazing opportunity. I’ve just been thinking, walking into the square and initial reactions, how about some kind of monitor – delighted or curious or disappointed or don’t like ?

    & Karl – as far as I can see they definitely did generate/create a space.

  • ste

    @Tutor Agree with you on most parts and if you have read my last post you can see i appreciate that way of thinking… but after this pavillon what is you personal conclusion? What would you except as further steps? I personally had more inspiration and visions after visiting the drl pavillon… this on eis very pleasent to my eyes but cant take me off the ground and give me some inspirational kicks… (not yet sure why)

  • tr

    The most important skill for any architect to have is their ability to think critically. It’s not worth taking the bait of sculpture vs. architecture. What’s missing is some evidence of any critical thought whatsoever. Some of the comments are fair, there isn’t much to a pavilion. So should we back off? OK, but this pavilion is no different than any other nurbz inflected geometry produced in academia.

    Come to think of it, I will take the sculpture bait. As a sculpture, it’s bad sculpture. Has anyone seen the world of sculpture lately, say the last 30 years? Does the name (Robert) Smithson ring a bell? The work is simply weak by all accounts. Wake up people. It’s not provocative. It’s boring.

    I’m not trying to be a complete naysayer. I’m just dying for a provocative piece of architecture to be built again, one that takes us in a new direction. I think it’s time.

  • yimyim

    I enjoy delight and joy, I just get it so much more from substance…. just me…

  • The Tutor

    tr, I like your comments. We do need more critical thinking and the A vs. S argeument is boring and superficial. I think you need to appreciate that this was done / made by second and third year students. Furthermore, I would hope that the new provocative direction in architecture would come from inspired work in practice and not from academic pedagogic exercises, we never aimed for something so ambitious.

    ste, You asked about personal conclusions. I am feeling the pavilion thing is ending. It was a good run, beginning with the Serpentine in 2000 for nearly 10 years now we have played with this typology as a format for free architectural modelling, at full scale (so experimenting in a playful way with building stuff.) It was largely about space, construction and technique.

    The problem is, it lacks social purpose. The blood-life of an architectural movement is linked to it’s social purpose, and I feel this ‘movement’ is becoming quickly deflated. The spotlight is moving on to newer issues. That doesn’t invalidate what was achieved, but perhaps it is becoming increasingly less significant…. We should move on.

    By the way, someone grafitied the pavilion, shame……

  • archcritic

    this is dope hands down. STOP snitchin’.

  • deyon

    Discussion, discussion, discussion… ok, right…
    But seriously, what do you do with this besides looking at it before it rots?..

    All these pieces generate a lot of discussion and architects have lost completely the point of the profession. Architecture can be and should be so much more simple. This is just a means to justify the high cost of studying at schools like the AA- something like ‘I can do this and you can’t because i know how to use GC, Rhino, etc’.

    Highly sophisticated big amounts of BS.

  • http://www.blog.tropicalismo360.com tropicalismo360

    I appreciate it as an experiment and one that gets students building.
    http://digg.com/d1w3ft

  • Asaf

    Yes, let’s all do a 500 hour drawing like people at UCL, frame it and put it on the wall.(back to the drawing board as they like to call it) to the guy who nagged about the AA not going beyond NURBS and Parameters, at least they dont offset 450 lines and call it a drawing. at least the AA backs students, supports them, and encourages to build rather than framing a photoshopped image of bunch of wheels and strings with a dramatic sky and a black background,…

    I think people have a lot of nerve to criticise a student project to this level. It is a shame that a forum like dezeen has become home to such pointless drivel and senseless criticism.

  • http://www.micro-architects.com Ninian

    Of course this is architecture.

    1. The art and science of designing and erecting buildings.
    2. Buildings and other large structures: the low, brick-and-adobe architecture of the Southwest.
    3. A style and method of design and construction: Byzantine architecture.
    4. Orderly arrangement of parts; structure: the architecture of the federal bureaucracy; the architecture of a novel.
    5. Computer Science The overall design or structure of a computer system, including the hardware and the software required to run it, especially the internal structure of the microprocessor.

    Definition from http://www.thefreedictionary.com

  • Rick

    How much did this thing cost? How much does it cost to display it like this? How is that money funded? Why? And then I read:

    “… showcasing the architectural intelligence that defines it as the world’s most renowned and influential school of architecture.”

    Oh, I see… it’s a giant ad. That explains a lot.

  • http://www.lucybullivant.net Goddessilla

    I live on Bedford Square – it’s my ‘hood, one of the most perfect Georgian squares, that has been given the regeneration treatment by Camden Council in recent years.
    Big expanses of vandal-proof open space are perfect as a place for the AA to extend its show from the dense internal spaces of its premises, especially for a design and build student project made of elements created at its Dorset site and assembled in-situ. It’s there for one month (as I understand; maybe the planning agreement will be extended further this summer, and its social purpose is no more or less pre-defined (beyond the Vitruvian ‘delight’) than the ones last year – three of them, if you include Tonkin Liu’s mobile installation for the LFA, which touched down for a week. I see it as an installation, the result of an educational research project realised by teamwork (12 students). I’d rather be drawn in by this ephemeral delight than the hordes of traffic wardens marching up and down
    the gravel; the drug dealers making assignations on the square, and as for what you do in it, with it – it’s summer – go and kiss your friend inside, read a poem, make a vow (to open your mind) and or whatever. Remember that it’s not M15 architecture, not some humungous energy-guzzling office building; it isn’t arrogantly stealing anyone’s space or housing rights. Keep it in proportion – it’s small, ephemeral, and it’s arousing you to some emotion. It’s not a pavilion (last year’s had a stage, so you could call that one a pavilion I guess), but an installation or giant model if you like – SANAA’s new Serpentine pavilion fulfills that definition, and the range of uses is myriad (talks, 50 poets reading, marathon discussions), but then Serpentine has many sponsors, and we are talking about a different cultural context. Making things is central to culture – and a rite of passage in an architectural education; otherwise you lose touch with materials, tactility, the experiential dimension, and there again, the discipline of production and teamwork is fundamental. So I’m defending Driftwood’s presence on my doorstep and its integrity as an exercise, and think those worried about irresponsible use of material should keep their hair on and the would-be pyromaniacs keep their matches dry and aim their fire at a better target. Max Fritsch, the Swiss novelist and playwright called ‘technology the knack of so arranging the world that we need not experience it’ but projects like Driftwood show its facilitation doesn’t need to turn out that way.
    You may subjectively prefer not to experience it. That applies to all design, all art, all architecture, all human expression. Just go find something that deserves to be criticised.

  • mhhh

    I don’t understand we all these people feel the need to talk so much s**t about this project. (And I also don’t know why Asaf felt the need to talk s**t about the Bartlett). Haven’t any of you been to architecture school… This project was designed and built by 2nd and 3rd year students, many of them probably had never built anything (at this scale) in their entire lives. Most of the criticism is on point I will not argue with that, but another part of critical thinking is to understand what roles a project serves in the greater field of architecture. This is a project where STUDENTS were able to explore and learn digital design/fabrication techniques (most likely for the first time) and apply them to full scale project. It’s nothing more than that. As a student who has tried and seen others try to produce work of this (formal) complexity at a one to one scale in an academic environment I know how difficult it is to produce these kinds of projects. It’s usually a nightmare. And I applaud the AA for their ability to continue producing these project.

    So for all the HATERS who have nothing better do then hate on student work on a blog… CHILL OUT… its gonna come down soon and you’ll never have to see it again.
    But for now lets just let the students be proud of what they accomplished, I think they deserve it.

  • ste

    some very interesting discussions started here so the pavillon already did alot more then giving the students a nice experience… i guess the whole cultural context and the tradition of archtiectural schools doing 1:1 scale prototypes with contemporary techniques gives those small things much more impartance then one might think at first sight! its a small amount of money and ressources for what can be achieved… so its already more then justified to do these things!

  • Gramsci

    Someone knows how to use 3D Max and export to a giant laser-cutter. Yawn!!!!!!!!!

  • The Tutor

    We pretty much worked that discussion thru. What have we learn’t:

    1. There are alot of people out there who don’t like computers. Well, there were alot of people (particularly in the UK) who resisted industrial mechanisation in the proto modern period. They advocated a return to craft and produced some exceptional architecture but…… that debate eventually subsided. Maybe you are swimming against the tide? Isn’t the real question – how do we integrate digital production within architecture in a purposeful and sophicticated manner.

    2. The project has divided you into two camps; those who are attracted to a sunsual visual and spatial experience that challanges conventional categories of architectural type and those who project moral responsability on projects with expectations of economy, sustainability and social purpose. (I always thought economy was an engineering concern, I am hard pressed to think of a single great piece of architecture that is economic?)

    All press is good press.

  • yimyim

    ahhhh,
    Adver-tecture or Architecture… mmm
    why is sensual digitised form so often hand-in-hand with Adver-tecture?
    Nevertheless, I agree/hope that it is indeed a phase before we are properly able to substantially utilise it… everything is connected…

  • cash

    students have been producing these objects, albeit at a far smaller scale, for the last five years; laser cutter and NURBS modelling //do not// architecture make. Seems more of an exercise in tools than architecture; but then that seems to be what the AA is aiming for these days.

  • smallpartoftheworld

    To all the haters.

    Is there really a clear difference between what is sculture and architecture?
    Why the angst?
    You talk about environment,perhaps you should complain to companies buying illegal wood from Indonesia.

    Why the rigidity in thought, stop complaining, start appreciating.

  • itdoesnotmatter

    you can say everything is architecture, for those living in the world of himself would argue that a position of a pencil on my table should be a sort of architecture. but the discussion this is actually quite meaningless i guess. they are simply words.

    maybe the students did learn a lot from the process and it does appear to be a great visual structure. but from ground zero, i doubt why the teachers or the course structure initiated this… the worst thing is not the result… but the impact and the virtual confidence and pride given to the students, who will be our architects in the future… and push them to design architecture with pure art form.

  • marmar

    Judging it as an object, it could have been lighter, less solid, taking advantage of the layering construction and playing more with light and shadows. That would create a more interactive space and give it more meaning as an installation.

  • asdfh7