Please change orientation
Skip to content

As one of fourteen international firms invited to participate in the exhibition Architecture as Art exhibit at the XXI Triennale di Milano, we were asked by the curators to build human-scale installations as “the architectural equivalent of entries in a possible dictionary, such as Portico, Entrance, Rehabilitation, Roof, Shelter, Pavilion, etc.”

Six interlocking aluminum vaults spring from a triangular outdoor stage to define a new space for performance and serendipitous public use – and misuse.

The vault – historically erected over social gathering spaces, such as thermae, amphitheaters, and basilicas – is one of the most fundamental elements of architecture. While traditionally built with massive load-bearing masonry, and expressing solidity and strength, the aluminum vaults in Polycentric Pavilion are as thin as possible – 5mm – making their connection to the environment more tenuous, as they respond to external forces such as sound and wind. Sound – emanating from a performance, from the vaults moving with the wind, or elsewhere in the Bicocca grounds – is projected by the aluminum vaults in unfamiliar ways, heard by a mobile public.

Michele Nastasi, Editoriale Lotus
Michele Nastasi, Editoriale Lotus
Michele Nastasi, Editoriale Lotus

Polycentric Pavilion is conceived of as both an area for passive lounging, and a model for a more active and multi-directional performance.

Michele Nastasi, Editoriale Lotus

The varying relationships among the vaults, the deck, and the void allow performers and audience to decide whether the decking serves as a stage, seating, both, or neither, prompting multiple performance configurations.

Client: XXIst Triennale di Milano International Exhibition (XX1T)
Curators: Nina Bassoli, Pier Luigi Nicolin
Location: Pirelli Hangar, Bicocca, Milan, Italy
Status: Completed
Dates: 2016
Program: Polycentric pavilion

Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | Albert Figueras | Wei Wen

Collaborators: Structure: Craft Engineering Studio | Fabrication: Extravega; Tosetto

Photography: Michele Nastasi, courtesy Editoriale Lotus