McGill University’s ContemPLAY Pavillion would have made Guy Debord happy. The constructed situation idea and psychogeography is encouraged and revamped with this installation as art and playing is applied as an extra level of interaction and interpretation.
The ContemPLAY pavilion is a student led initiative developed at the McGill School of Architecture as part of the Directed Research Studio program under the MArch course Community Design Workshop. It is built under the leadership and supervision of Maria Mingallon, the Gerald Sheff visiting Professor, in collaboration with F.A.R.M.M. (Facility for Architectural Research and Media Mediation) directed and founded by Michael Jemtrud (Director of the School of Architecture at McGill University) and led by Jason Crow.
The pavilion is meant as a multi-generational artefact that gathers the ideas of contemplation and playing in a single clear gesture. As a socially sustainable public infrastructure that plays with the visual field through form and cladding, it questions the current trend in public space furniture and encroaches in the realm of the abstract sculpture or artefact.
The gesture itself is a three dimensional Möbius strip supported by a triangular truss. The truss is a combination of plywood and steel members. The cladding is a visual pattern generated to create a simultaneous Moiré and parallax effect. As the public approaches and engages with the pavilion, the visual field is modified and interrupted by the interference created by motion and the two layers of cladding. The eye continuously covers the never ending surface of the Möbius inviting dynamic motion from the user. A base platform serves both as foundation and bench, providing a central area for seating within a never ending structure. The light filters through the cladding generating an ambiguous relationship between the notions of the inside and outside as well as furniture and shelter.
As you move around the pavilion, new interference patterns are continuously created and destroyed due to the Moiré mechanism, creating a responsive, interactive experience. The simplicity of a half-twist in a ribbon was rendered extremely complex through the doubling and offsetting of the Möbius strip: the creation of two surfaces activated the Moiré but required strong yet minimal structural solution. The solution to this complexity was a space frame. To resolve all these design criteria, the Moiré pattern and an optimized space frame are generated via customized digital parametric modelling.
The project enhances the potential for utilizing latest developments in digital design and manufacturing, exposing advanced construction techniques, digital processes and theoretical approaches to architecture in the public realm. The hybrid structure of galvanized steel and exterior grade plywood is fully reversible and its construction process allows the pavilion to be built, disassembled and recycled. The complex form created unique opportunities to develop research through parametric design without increasing waste and simultaneously minimizing cost.