Museum of Craft and Design
San Francisco, CA, USA
Until 7 January 2018

Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts opened on June 24, 2017 transformed the Museum of Craft and Design into an immersive architectural environment. On view until 17 January 2018, the exhibition demonstrates a range of contemporary pavilion projects, through a site-specific full-scale installation, as well as through material samples, small-scale models and digital renderings.

Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts addresses architecture’s physical and collaborative processes through the presentation of digital and handmade pavilions by seven architectural studios: Carmody Groarke (London); Do/Su Studio Architecture (Los Angeles); IwamotoScott (San Francisco); Jay Nelson (San Francisco); Materials & Applications (Los Angeles); SITU Studio (New York);Warren Techentin Architecture (Los Angeles).

Notes exhibition guest curator, Mariah Nielson, “An architectural pavilion is traditionally defined as a free-standing structure – an object of pleasure. Pavilions are typically constructed for temporary events or display, with their unorthodox forms contributing to their spectacular appearance.”

Reflecting a broad range of techniques that architects employ to build pavilions at variant scales, Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts will include material samples, drawings, films, architectural models and photographs by the participating architects, as well as site-specific installations by Jay Nelson and IwamotoScott (with the assistance of Lisa Iwamoto’s architecture students from UC Berkeley).

Whether generated by hand and digitally, the works on display offer an insight into the contemporary and forward-thinking processes of making architecture today. How and why pavilions are built is the result of a complex network and exchange of ideas and individuals. Collaboration with artists, curators, scientists, private clients, developers, entrepreneurs, and institutions can lead to the development of forms that rely on material capacity, new technologies and the skills of fabricators, and often, the public for construction. The conceptual and material experimentation that pavilions offer architects contributes to a collaborative design process that reveals the values and intentions of the designers and the context of their production.

Comments London-based practice Carmody Groarke, “Pavilions are not defined by the conventional characteristics of building, that of shelter or utility, but instead offer architects the opportunity to speculate about architecture and urbanism in precise and conceptual ways.”

Each of the participating studios in Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts identify pavilions as an opportunity to explore a range of ideas and design strategies that would be far more challenging to propose and pursue with permanent structures. The exhibition suggests that the production of pavilions (their design, the economy that generates them, and their cultural value) is affecting architectural practice in intriguing ways.

SITU Studio partner Wes Rozen, “Pavilions are typical projects for young firms and designers just out of school. Pavilions are low risk, experimental, developed quickly, call forth instant feedback, and push experimentation with design-build skills. We can control the design, invite people in to participate in the building process, let go of authorship, create something that is highly complex and that lives outside the computer, and we can experiment with participation and techniques for manufacturing.”

Through the creation of contemporary pavilions, we are witnessing the encouragement of cross-disciplinary collaborations and the advancement of architecture into new terrains including research, artistic authorship, new building technologies, education and curatorial practice. The Museum of Craft and Design invites visitors to engage with Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts and discover new and exciting practices in architecture through the design typology of the pavilion.