Architectural pavilions: architects give punch to small structures

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“Martell Pavilion” by SelgasCano

Martell Foundation, Cognac, France

For their first architectural project in France, the architects SelgasCano had to race against time. The Spanish duo only had six weeks to complete this organic, undulating structure in the courtyard of the Martell Foundation in Cognac, France. The 1,300 m² protean structure forms a labyrinthine glass roof between the Art Deco Gatehouse building from 1929 and the wine cellars from the 18th century. “It’s a natural invasion – we wanted to break away from the linear perspective that connects the entrance to the founder’s house,” the architects explain, “we wanted to create a contrasting form. Tasked with designing a lightweight, self-contained set for cultural events, the architects used a toolbox of elements comprising 43 porticoes and eight different sets of curved tubular structures. A wavy, translucent canopy in polyester and fiberglass, supplied by French manufacturer Onduline, sets the tone. Yellow inflated seats filled with water are randomly installed, allowing visitors to sit, lean, stretch, or gather around site-specific cultural events. “The goal of the pavilion is to allow people to mingle and attend a diverse program of activities. A few bars and stands will welcome local producers on market days and serve cocktails “, explains Nathalie Viot, manager of the Martell Foundation,” I want the Foundation to be anchored in the region. terroir, to find the best of the region and transform it into a broad international dimension. ‘ Staged like a succession of translucent waves, the curvilinear pavilion is a labyrinth. “We hope that visitors will walk like in a forest, winding inside the structure,” say the architects. Making your way through the structure of the pavilion certainly creates expectations, even creative encounters. Committed to its local community and its environment, the Martell Foundation also explores new frontiers by reusing part of the wood from Vincent Lamouroux’s previous installation, By nature (By nature). In 2018, the pavilion will be dismantled and reinstalled abroad as part of a social and associative initiative. Photography: Iwan Baan. Screenplay: Clara Le Fort


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