suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
soma: The temporary art pavilion will create a unique presence for contemporary art productions in Salzburg, a city known predominantly for classical music. The main user of the pavilion is the Salzburg Biennale, a contemporary music festival.
soma’s proposal was chosen as the first prize winner in an open, two-stage competition in October 2010. The structure was erected for the first time in March 2011 for a period of 3 months and houses various events such as concerts, video screenings and exhibitions. During the next decade it will be used for various art events at different locations.
Art is a cultural process involving many participants within a discourse. This process does not unlock itself on first sight, but unfolds through encounter and engagement. The pavilion’s appearance emphasises this idea. It provokes curiosity and invites visitors to encounter the unknown and unusual.
The architectural concept is based on a theme that is inherent to architecture as well as music – rule and variation. In contrast to conventional design processes that conceive forms that are then split up into buildable parts, the development of the pavilion is based on a simple element, a range of rules for aggregation, and the definition of the architectural effects aimed at. In case of the pavilion an aluminium profile with a constant length is arrayed to create oscillating spatial effects. The single sticks merge into a mass-like structure that changes its appearance during the day, according to the different light conditions. The structure should allow an ambivalent reading as single members and as a merging conglomerate, depending on the distance it is viewed from. The main design criterion was to achieve an arrangement that, while irregular, still shows a homogenous distribution of density.
In addition to these formal aspects the members had to be arrayed in such a way that the resulting structure performs effectively and the amount of members is optimized within the design intentions. With the help of genetic algorithms and tools like Grasshopper and Karamba the aggregation was structurally optimized. Through combination, selection and mutation over many generations an optimized solution is generated that fulfils the achieved design criterions. The result is a complex structure optimized within architectural parameters, and based on a minimum amount of sticks that show emergent load bearing behaviour.
The speculative intention behind this “obliteration” of the pavilion’s structure is to prevent any conventional notion or cliché of “construction”. Instead the pavilion should appear to arbitrarily invite visitors to come up with their own associations and interpretations.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
lC: Our fascination in aggregations and random-based processes
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
lC: Jan Jelinek, Mum, Bonobo
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
lC: Carsten Nicolai, Brennan Buck, Sandra Backlund, Marjan Colletti
Structural Engineers: Bollinger Grohmann Schneider ZT GmbH, Vienna
Lighting Concept: podpod, Vienna