AR-MA’s pavilion Trifolium, designed and built for the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation’s (SCAF) annual competition Fugitive Structures, uses advanced computer design technologies to fulfil a research-oriented brief. SCAF’s intent in driving the four-year, annually run pavilion competition, is to progress the integration of complex technologies, material or otherwise, in built structures. One amongst many entries, AR-MA was able to secure the commission through its dedication to progressive architectural methodologies and materials research.
AR-MA’s answer to the brief was a three-leaved structure featuring a thermally-formed and robotically-trimmed, self-supporting Corian exterior envelope with 152 black, mirror-polished Rimex interior panels. The two surfaces were connected with 452 unique stainless steel brackets, each fabricated to be self-jigging during the welding process.
Conceived as a fluid, continuous event space, the internal space of the pavilion has the flexibility to be used as a meeting place or an auditorium, whilst the three leaves divide the external courtyard into a series of smaller, more intimate spaces. The reflectivity of the interior surfaces provides the connection between inside and out, reflecting the surrounding courtyard in a myriad of views. The position-sensitive play of light and image creates an affective relationship between the viewer and the pavilion, exaggerated as the sun sets and the 42 fibre-optic lights cast into concrete pavers reflect infinitely around the interior.
To execute a pavilion of such geometric and material complexity, AR-MA developed a series of custom scripts, plug-ins, and stand-alone programs to aid in modelling the structure. This is a feature of the project common to all of AR-MA’s output. This software integrated geometric concerns with material and structural constraints to produce the form of the pavilion, and was ultimately linked to computer-controlled fabrication.
Fabrication of the pavilion took three months, and included digitally-integrated processes such as CNC-routing, laser-cutting, and thermo-forming. With over three-thousand unique pieces, the project became a logistical one of getting the right component to the right place at the right time.
Nono Martinez Alonso
Terry TIsdale, OX Engineering
Alex Edwards, ARUP
Tim Carr, ARUP
BVN Donovan Hill