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1 Sand Dollar research pavilion at the University of Stuttgart, Germany
Sea fauna was the inspiration for this research pavilion at the University of Stuttgart, a collaboration between the Institute for Computational Design and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design.

The creation of the on-campus pavilion is an annual undertaking, aimed at pushing the material boundaries of architecture through innovative techniques. This year, the team sought to replicate the intricacies of a real sand dollar’s structure, which features a complex, double-layered skeleton that’s joined by fibrous materials and jagged edges, like finger joints.

About 150 pieces of beech plywood were layered, shaped into rounded, hollow elements, sewn together by a robot, and joined by box joints. Each element was then stitched together manually on-site, resulting in a billowing canopy that celebrates novel wood construction methods. Explore the pavilion from your desk with an interactive panorama.


2 Weaving the Courtyard at MoMA PS1, New York City
The overwhelmingly concrete MoMA PS1 courtyard on Long Island has been transformed into an ethereal neon playground by Escobedo Soliz Studio. The Mexico City-based firm won the art institution’s 2016 Young Architects Program which, now in its 17th year, gives young studios the opportunity to design a site-specific outdoor installation that provides seating, shade and water.

Using holes in the courtyard’s concrete walls, left over from when they were originally poured, architects Lazbent Pavel Escobedo and Andrés Soliz wove an awning of rope, alternating shades of shocking pink, red, orange, green and yellow. The canopy provides some shade to visitors standing below, who can also dip their toes in a reflective wading pool or cool down in a misting room, just off the central courtyard.

Weaving the Courtyard will be on view until August 21.

Photo by Wolfgang Volz

3 The Floating Piers on Lake Iseo in Sulzano, Italy
The first work by Bulgarian artist Christo in more than a decade is seemingly miraculous; three kilometres of shimmering marigold walkways floating atop Italy’s Lake Iseo, giving visitors the power to walk on water.

First conceived in 1970 by Christo and Jeanne-Claude – his partner in life and work, who passed away in 2009 – the magic of the Floating Piers is made possible by a floating dock system comprised of 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes and covered with 100,000 square metres of sunny fabric. Christo likens the sensation of walking on the pathways to “walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale.”

The installation, which closes on July 3, has drawn tens of thousands of visitors since it opened on June 18.


4 Your Reflection in Santiago, Chile
A psychedelic summer pavilion of concave and convex mirrors is tripping up passerby in Santiago’s Parque Araucano. Chilean architects Guillermo Hevia García and Nicolás Urzúa are behind the installation, which was the winning entry in the 2015 Young Architects Program in Chile – a program partnership between MoMA and CONSTRUCTO, a Chilean cultural organization.

For Your Reflection, the architects created a landscape with grassy slopes, wild flowers and a small creek, contained by three mirrored steel planes that curve in and out. The effect is dream-like; visitors walk within the landscape framed by the planes, exploring the endless reflections and obscurities created by the mirror-like surfaces.


5 Elytra Filament Pavilion at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The University of Stuttgart have contributed to another remarkable pavilion this summer – this one installed across the pond, at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

The geometric overhang of the 200-square-metre pavilion is both lightweight and durable, mimicking the composition of its namesake elytra – the wing casings typically found on flying beetles. Its 40 hexagonal panels were robotically fabricated, woven using glass and carbon fibre.

The installation’s designers – a team from Stuttgart that includes architects Achim Menges and Moritz Dörstelmann, and engineers Thomas Auer and Jan Knippers – see the pavilion as an exploration of the impact that new robotic technologies will have have on architecture and design.

Until the show’s conclusion on November 6, an on-site robotic mechanism will produce new elements for the pavilion, building onto its original form.

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