Work title: Camouflage Pavilion
The rapid growth of contemporary cities seems to produce an architecture that responds to the existing environment in an increasingly intrusive and conspicuous manner. Fashionable buildings often pose as artificially contained environments indicating a progressively distractive trend to the nature of habitation and adaptation. This has incited the possibility for ‘architecture of camouflage’ as a reflection of the receptive relationship between the natural environment, buildings and the inhabitants as part of the landscape. According to the Metropolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture, ‘camouflage occurs through an intentional manipulation of reality; a synthetical diagramming of its most apparent, or literal, patterns converted into abstract schemes capable of interacting with the environment, rather than of changing colour with it’. As a result, Camouflage Pavilion was inspired by the concept of camouflage based on the idea that built environments and their inhabitants are reciprocally affected by environmental conditions prompting them to continuously interact with each other and the surrounding landscape as part of the adaptation process.
This proposal is an attempt to question the limits of architecture and its relationship with landscape. It is drawn on the ideas explored by Diller and Scofidio through their Blur Building, which was proposed as part of Expo 2002 and was described as ‘formless, featureless, depthless, scaless, massless, surfaceless and dimensionless , and one that essentially stood defined by its context of the lake, however detached from the city. Comparatively, the Camouflage Pavilion aims to ‘draw’ the city towards the lake forming a close relationship between the two. It also strikes to convey the concept of ‘responsive’ architecture, which when unoccupied, stands almost invisible to the outside world, and becomes only ‘activated’ through the presence of the visitors, whose movements within the space of the pavilion trigger the appearance of interactive imagery and light.
The Camouflage Pavilion is proposed to be positioned on the lake facing Voyage Immobile and therefore, becoming a point of reflection as well as the connection with the city. It attempts to gradually draw the visitor from the footpath onto a boardwalk, which stretches 150 meters out onto the lake. The pavilion may be envisioned as a single unifying enclosure in a city of individually constrained zones. The juxtaposition of mirrored and transparent facets reflects the unity between the inside and the outside of the building. While the transparent facets of the pavilion expose the lake and the landscape from the inside, the mirrored facets reflect the surrounding landscape from the outside. As the individual enters the pavilion from the boardwalk they maintain a sense of familiarity with the city that camouflages itself through the pavilion’s mirrored exterior creating a sense of ‘fusion’ with the landscape that surrounds it. The envelope of the pavilion is derived from a sequence of perspective points reflecting back into the city, each facet responds to a particular perspective plane framing and locating the city’s residential districts, leisure and sporting areas, beach district, city centre, industrial zone and historic precinct. Through the interactive imagery projected on the internal walls of the pavilion we intend to draw in the existing sites throughout the city in order to create a contained experience of the city within a relatively small construction.
Contemporary advancements in technology are rapidly changing our physical environment diverging it towards the virtual, which increasingly relies on visual experience and therefore, fundamentally altering the individual’s perception of space. As a result, the need for a physical manipulation of textures, sounds and scents in order to stimulate a sensory response to space and the material environment is no longer necessary, indicating instead a progression towards an intensified visual experience. More recently, developments in haptic technology have reflected an increased ability to simulate sensory reception through the perception of virtual objects. In comparison, the experience created within the Blur Building by Diller and Scofidio was achieved as a result of its visual concealment by water vapour that could be felt, tasted and heard. Thus, the Blur Building produced an awareness of space through the sensory experience of touch, sound, smell, vision and taste within one enclosure, seemingly aiming to create a full body-sense experience, which equally targets all senses. Instead, Camouflage Pavilion aims to create a body-sense experience primarily through visual perception reflecting the shift from the material towards the virtual.
The Camouflage Pavilion tilts towards the city while projecting out onto the lake and other sites of the area. While it is revealed above the lake camouflaging with its surrounding landscape and using the image of the city as its form, it is also concealed beneath the lake suggesting the infinity of its internal space. When unoccupied, the pavilion stands as an illusive reflection of its context, while once inhabited, its presence is illuminated through the movements of the visitors and the snapshots of the city created through the reflection and projection within its walls. Here the body, space, land, sky and water are equal elements forming part of a larger universal cycle and each individual is a distinctly defined body encompassing the landscape. There is almost an undefined transition between the city and the lake as one crosses the boardwalk towards the pavilion. As multiple individuals begin to inhabit the space, the crowd is camouflaged amidst the multiple projections they each trigger through their body movements. The internal projections gradually illuminate the exterior of the pavilion and its presence begins to take form as it encloses the city and the individuals within it. Through our proposal we intend to highlight the benefit of the individual experience where the vastness of the landscape within the smaller confined space of the pavilion may be experienced through visual perception and the virtual space as ‘we did not have to wait for the computer screen or the movie projector in order to enter virtual space; we have been living in its shadow more or less continually.’