THEN – classic meanings

“In architecture a pavilion (from French pavillon, from Latin papilio) has several meanings. In architectural terminology it refers to a subsidiary building that is either positioned separately or as an attachment to a main building. Often its function makes it an object of pleasure.”

“In the traditional architecture of Asia, palaces or other large houses may have one or more subsidiary pavilions that are either freestanding or connected by covered walkways, as in the Forbidden City, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, and in the Red Fort and other buildings of Mughal architecture.
In another more specific meaning applied to large palaces, it refers to symmetrically placed subsidiary building blocks that appear to be attached to the each end of a main building block or to the outer ends of wings that extend from both sides of a central building block. Such configurations provide an emphatic visual termination to the composition of a large building.”

“Pavilions may be small garden outbuildings, similar to a summer house or a kiosk; small rooms on the roof of a large house, reached only via the roof may also be called pavilions. These were particularly popular up to the 18th century and can be equated to the Italian casina, formerly rendered in English “casino”. These often resembled small classical temples and follies.”

“Bandstands in a park are a class of pavilion. A pool house by a swimming pool may have sufficient character and charm to be called a pavilion. By contrast, a free-standing pavilion can also be a far larger building such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, which is in fact a large oriental style palace; however, like its smaller namesakes, the common factor is that it was built for pleasure and relaxation.”

MORE NEWS PAVILIONS – Serpentine Pavilions

“The Serpentine Gallery was established in 1970 and is housed in a Grade II listed former tea pavilion built in 1933–34 by the architect J. Grey West. Notable artists whose works have been exhibited there. Every year since 2000 the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a temporary summer pavilion by a leading architect. The series presents the work of an international architect or design team who has not completed a building in England at the time of the Gallery’s invitation. Each Pavilion is completed within six months and is situated on the Gallery’s lawn for three months for the public to explore. Cecil Balmond has been a creative force behind Serpentine Pavilion programme.”

This pavilions preserved the classical sense  of “pavilion-function”, so they are planed for relaxation and they are  separate garden buildings. However they have technical and structural innovations plenty.


For today the roles of pavilions is changed. They are largely temporary stucture with temporary function, builded in order to experiment and testing. It can be to inventing new structure, construction method, production technologies, testing new material, ect. Their resultes are becaming usable to build biger structures.


M-Pavilion by Amada Levete, Melbourne 2016


“Tensegrity is a relatively new principle (50 years old) based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially.
This system creates amazing, lightweight and adaptable figures, giving the impression of a cluster of struts floating in the air.
It is not a commonly known type of structure, so knowledge of its mechanism and physical principles is not very widespread among architects and engineers. However, one of the most curious and peculiar aspects of tensegrity is its origin; controversy and polemic will always be present when arguing about its discovery.”

“Three men have been considered the inventors of tensegrity: Richard Buckminster Fuller, David Georges Emmerich and Kenneth D. Snelson. Although all of the three have claimed to be the first inventor, R. Motro (1987, 2003) mentions that Emmerich (1988) reported that the first proto-tensegrity system, called “Gleichgewichtkonstruktion”, was created by a certain Karl Ioganson in 1920.”

“Kenneth Snelson (born June 29, 1927) is an American contemporary sculptor and photographer. His sculptural works are composed of flexible and rigid components arranged according to the idea of ‘tensegrity’. Snelson prefers the descriptive term floating compression.”

“Snelson asserts his former professor Buckminster Fuller took credit for Snelson’s discovery of the concept that Fuller named tensegrity. Fuller gave the idea its name, combining ‘tension’ and ‘structural integrity.’ The height and strength of Snelson’s sculptures, which are often delicate in appearance, depend on the tension between rigid pipes and flexible cables.”

“At the same time, but independently, David Georges Emmerich (Debrecen-Hungary, 1925-1996), probably inspired by Ioganson’s structure, started to study different kinds of structures as tensile prisms and more complex tensegrity systems, which he called ‘structures tendues et autotendants’, tensile and self- stressed structures. As a result, he defined and patented his ‘reseauxautotendants’, which were exactly the same kind of structures that were being studied by Fuller and Snelson.”

There are many stucture in the world, what work based on this principle. They are maynley naturale stuctures, for exemple the spine, which was named “biotensegrity”.



“For furthur understanding of tensegrity in biologic structures from the viewpoint of a geometer/artist/inventor see Tom Flemons’ The Geometry of Anatomy and The Bones of Tensegrity published on his website. Tom makes models of anatomical structures based on biotensegrity principles.”

Tensegrity icosahedrons are used to model biologic organisms from viruses to vertebrates, their cells, systems and subsystems. There are only tension and compression elements in tensegrity systems. There are no shears, bending moments or levers, just simple tension and compression, in a self organizing, hierarchical, load distributing, low energy consuming structure.”


How can we adjust the tension on the structure?

To build such a construction is a hard task, because until the last element isn’t in its place,  can not see the final form. The other difficulity is the adjusting the tension.

“It’s analogous to tuning a stringed instrument. In assembling the sculpture for the first time, I invariably need to change some of the tension members, remaking them either longer or shorter to achieve the right amount of prestressing. Every part depends on every other part, compression and tension members alike, so that knowing which wire to alter is a matter of experience. After the final adjustment, further changes over time are seldom necessary.” (K. Snelson for his structures)

The upshut will be a really flexibil construction, what can deformating and returning effect pressure or drawing-out.


In this year the students of the Tokio University of Sience made a good exapmle of the above structural principle. The teamleader was Kazuhiro Kojima, and they created a extremely lightweight, load-bearing structure.

“The 26-metre-long, up to 7,5-metre-wide and 4,25-metre-high volume is self-supporting and comprises only two kinds of component: the metal bearing elements and a delicate space-enclosing skin consisting of an 0,7-mm membrane of elastic polyester fabric. The membrane is drawn over metal tubes that create a tensegrity system and forms the tension element. The 131 compression bars are 25-mm diameter aluminum tubes of various lengths and there is no contact between them; instead, they are connected to the skin by sliding the ends into sheaths sewn on. The membrane is anchored at the base like a conventional tent with pegs consisting of aluminum tubes with tips pressed together to form a point. The compression members are pushed into these pegs and fixed in position by means of steel pins. With a weight of only 600 kg, this airy structure covers a ground area of 146 square meters. “

“The pavilion was erected by 70 students in a single day. Initially, they laid out the ready tailored skin, then slid the tubular members into the sheaths. The overall structure was tensioned on all sides, pushed upwards at the same time in the interior and finally fixed to the ground. The convex and concave forms resulting from this create an animated surface and a lively interplay of light and shade.

Since the membrane screens off 80% of the UV radiation, but allows 50% of the daylight to pass through, the softly filtered light creates a fascinating spatial impression internally. When illuminated, the translucent pavilion has the appearance of a lighted sculpture.”





Introduce tus datos o haz clic en un icono para iniciar sesión:

Logo de

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Google+ photo

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Google+. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )


Conectando a %s