Project Year: 2015
Materials: Spandex, rebar, concrete
Location: Rivière Rouge, Québec, Canada
"What do you wanna be, Brick?"
"I wanna be chillin'."
This pavilion -- affectionately named “Greta” -- was built without a pre-determined site, and without drawings, and therefore without a clearly-desired end result. Because of the construction method (stuffing pantyhose sacks with concrete and stacking them around lengths of rebar) the structure was essentially impossible to model digitally; she could not be conceived of without the input of environmental conditions and material behaviour, or without the labourer’s ability to read and respond to these factors. Simulations were carried out by scaled physical models to estimate certain tendencies and material quantities, but relatively inconclusively. We arrived in Rivière Rouge not knowing what the thing would look like, how long it would take, or if it would even stand up.
Normally this would be an incredibly terrifying situation - our tendency is to cling to our Drawings with a kung fu grip - but it actually turned out to be extremely liberating and, importantly, beneficial. Because the method was infinitely adaptable, adjustments could be readily made to provide stability or to alter dimensions where needed, and because its design was not tied to a prescribed ideal, design opportunities -- both spatial and aesthetic -- discovered during the process could be readily accommodated to push the design forward and truly communicate the qualities of the place. Spontaneity reigned.
As a radical extreme, this project explores the gap between studio and site, digital model and physical construction, and the false sense of security of The Drawing.
And, of course, it sought to understand Brick's deepest desires a little better.