Build it, they will come: the pavilion frenzy

10 May 2019

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Spectacular architectural pavilions are big crowd-pleasers, but critics claim they’re running out of control.

Temporary architectural pavilions are spawning with increasing frequency and flamboyance around the world.

In the past few months alone we’ve seen an origami-like structure engulf the statue of the Holy Roman Emperor in Munich, then disappear.

Another, conjured in Los Angles as a kind of towering funnel attempts to harness the ephemeral energy of lightning.

Earlier, in Harbin, China, the world’s tallest ice pavilion was built in the shape of a flamenco dress. Happily, it’s since thawed.

“What’s interesting is how much the typology has exploded,” says University of Queensland professor John Macarthur, co-author of the book, Pavilion Propositions.

“When London’s Serpentine Gallery launched its summer pavilion program in 2000 with an installation by Zaha Hadid it marked the revival of an almost forgotten form.

By 2010 there were something like 45 temporary pavilions happening around the world and in 2015 there were, by our calculation, 170!” Since then they have multiplied almost promiscuously.

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