This competition entry for a floating pavilion to be utilized in conjunction with the annual Venice Biennale exhibition proposes a series of volumes produced by a progression of parallel pneumatic (air-inflated) tubes that are lightweight, easily transportable, easily assembled / disassembled, durable and aesthetically dynamic. The idea for the pavilion is one of inclusion; by transforming the installation from simple a platform for exhibition into a multi-volume assemblage of event spaces the proposed design may incorporate a variety of activities and experiences.

The series of volumes are all produced by through the manipulation of parallel tubes and their related sectional profile in order to produce a structural, as well as aesthetic continuity and to allow for a maximum variety of uses / occupations. Since the proposed pneumatic method of construction is highly flexible in relationship to the specific sectional profiles one may develop a variety of potential volumes able to not only accommodate different types of entertainment and performance, but also may provide unique and interesting spatial configurations. Through the different aggregation of these varieties an immense number of potential organizations may be developed. In the version shown here various volumes are able to accommodate music, exhibition, film / projections and lounging. Additionally the wood deck areas surrounding the pneumatic volumes are stepped to provide access as well as ample seating for rest, or observation of the various activities / performances taking place in and around the pavilions. The system allows for all of the volumes to be aggregated together linearly as shown in the adjacent images or there’s the potential that they could be separated and dispersed to various waterfront locations throughout the city in order to accommodate other events of the Bienalle expo.

The volumes are comprised entirely of air-inflated tubes organized side by side in parallel and tied together through the use of connection straps. They are lightweight, easily inflated in a matter of hours with small compressors and are easily prefabricated and prepared off site prior to erection of the structure. The connection straps connect the tubes together into pairs, by offsetting the straps from one to the next each tube is tied the tube on either side of it creating a redundant parallel tube network. This parallel network is then connected to the base tubes that run horizontally underneath through the use of additional strapping elements; these base tubes are in turn strapped together adjacently to one another as well as to the larger pontoon tubes below. The pontoon tubes become the primary floating elements and are thus larger and inflated to a higher internal pressure. Additionally, in order to address the issue of uplift from local winds a secondary cable net is attached over top of the parallel tubes and is fastened back to connectors attached to the horizontal tubes and pontoons, these cables run along the ridge lines as well as diagonally across the structure. Lastly a translucent membrane (either made of vinyl or ETFE) covers the volume to provide relative enclosure from the external elements. Should there be occasion of extreme weather the entire parallel tube structure could simply be deflated and tied down to avoid potential damage or accident.

Project Type: arch triumph Venice Floating Pavilion Competition
Date: 2013
Location: Venice, Italy
Material: PVC tubing, ETFE fritted sheet, nylon tie-downs
Project Team: Ryan Ludwig

// This project was awarded an honorable mention!
For more information on the competition see archtriumph