SeARCH creates grassy dome pavilion
for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale

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Dutch studio SeARCH has created a dome-shaped pavilion covered in grass and filled with plants, as part of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam that opened to the public today.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Ronald Tilleman

Located at Rotterdam's Museumpark, Yourtopia was designed by SeARCH as a utopian 21st century house. It is intended to reference indigenous architecture around the world – from igloos in the Arctic to underground dwellings in China –  but also to encapsulate nature.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Ronald Tilleman

Speaking to Dezeen at the opening, studio founder Bjarne Mastenbroek said he wanted to create a simple and cost-efficient building that would show that "architecture can be a luxury and not just a commodity".

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Ronald Tilleman

"The whole idea is linked to the way that [Mexican architect] Luis Barragán built villas in Mexico City. What we like about these is that if you reduce the size, these could be modest houses," said Mastenbroek.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale

The exterior of the house is covered in grass, creating a manmade hill that extends up from the lawn. A large circular skylight sits over the peak, topped by a large saucer-like roof that offers shade from direct sunlight and filters away rainwater.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale

A protruding doorway leads visitors inside the building, where they can discover a huge thicket of tropical plants and trees sitting beneath the skylight.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale

"One of the questions we asked was, why does a house need windows?" Mastenbroek told Dezeen. "This one provides plenty of light, and the sky becomes your view."

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale

The need for a fast construction prompted the team to use a steel frame, although they originally planned to build the pavilion with prefabricated concrete panels. This would allow the house to be easily reproduced.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale

It will be open for a least five months, over which time the architect plans to add furniture or even invite guests to stay.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale
Construction diagram

Yourtopia is the first of a planned series of temporary pavilions that will be created as part of future biennales, initiated and implemented by the Het Nieuwe Instituut. The sixth International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) will run until 24 August.

SeARCH pavilion for Rotterdam Architecture Biennale
Section - click for larger image

Dezeen's trip to Rotterdam was courtesy of Visit Holland.