With its portable shelter topped in double-sided mirrors, Buffalo architecture firm Davidson Rafailidis reinvents the festival tent.
The firm first installed MirrorMirror in New York last May for the New Museum’s Ideas City. While the museum now owns the structure, it lent it out to the Downtown Central Library in Buffalo for its Echo Art Fair, which took place this past weekend. The versatile and lightweight pavilion’s ability to move from event to event is part of its appeal.
More important, this modular outdoor event space dazzles, while eschewing any likeness to the drab white tents that line the streets at outdoor festivals and expos. Festival goers strolling beneath the tent can gaze up and catch a different perspective of the canopied happenings, and passersby can watch its reflections of the urban fabric, greenery and cloud activity.
Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis, professors at the University of Buffalo, constructed the pavilion with two basic components. The first is also its standout feature: a 45-degree gable roof made of panels comprising sheets of reflective Mylar foil stretched over foam and aluminum frames. The second element is the steel tripod base the panels slide onto.
Because both elements are hinged, they can be flat packed for storing and transportation. Several 3.6-by-3-metre shelters can be lined up to create a 27-metre-long tent. Standard concrete blocks anchor the frame’s feet, so that the whole thing stays steady even when it’s windy.