Zurich - News

The Pavillon of Reflections at Manifesta 11

2 years ago

In summer 2016, Zurich will host the eleventh edition of Manifesta, one of the world’s most important biennials for contemporary art. The event’s central presentation platform will be set up on Lake Zurich, near Bellevue – the Pavillon of Reflections, a floating island with an open-air cinema and integrated swimming pool, which will constitute a new temporary landmark in the city.

The aim of this architectural statement is to create a new, central location for the 100-day duration of the art biennial: the pavilion will offer space for dialogue and reflection on the artworks created for the biennial and will also act as a meeting place for participants and visitors. It is being made in co-operation with 30 architecture students from ETH Zurich, led by Studio Tom Emerson: being designed and realised in a collective process by the students themselves.
This blueprint is a response to Manifesta curator Christian Jankowski‘s call for the students to design a pavilion on the lake outfitted with an LED screen, spectator seats, a pool and a bar. The nature of the pavilion is determined in large measure by the collective way the students work and the co-ordination this requires. The biggest challenge is to turn the design into a real working structure. Following a competition among the students, the most promising ideas were selected and developed. Different groups worked on different scales – from the integration of the pavilion into the city of Zurich and the lake basin, to 1:1 prototypes – in order to combine the various design, technical and organisational dimensions of the project into a multifaceted and achievable architectural plan. “Our team represents all the relevant areas of architectural production. From the development of the concept, through detailed planning and construction of 1:1 models, to logistical organisation and documentation with our own little newspaper, in which the project is addressed from a variety of perspectives,” says Boris Gusic of the ETH Studio Tom Emerson. In addition to the design process, the production techniques will also have a profound effect on the ultimate character of the pavilion.

The Pavillon of Reflections will be built solely out of wood; working with this material is an essential aspect of the design and construction process. For many of the students, the Pavillon of Reflections is their first opportunity to realise their own project, with all the possibilities and challenges that come along with it. Following the planning phase, the pavilion will be prefabricated – also by the students – in a hangar near Zurich in January 2016 and assembled on the lake in the springtime. The ETH Studio Tom Emerson has already designed and realised a number of collaborative projects with students, including several temporary pavilions and the Belvedere in the Zurich district of Zollikon. The Manifesta project continues this tradition but goes far beyond the scale of previous projects in terms of size and complexity.

My Art Guides Editorial Team

  • Model of Pavilion of Reflections. Photo- © ETH Studio Emerson. Model of Pavilion of Reflections. Photo- © ETH Studio Emerson.
  • Model of Pavilion of Reflections. Photo- © ETH Studio Emerson. Model of Pavilion of Reflections. Photo- © ETH Studio Emerson.