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Flexible Pavilion

Flexible Pavilion

Fall 2012, junior design studio
Topology and form study

This design called for the creation of a pavilion based on an article of clothing from the costume collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, specifically a 20th century corset from their Dior collection. The pavilion is intended to mimic the structure and mobility of the garment, in order to create distinct spatial configurations.



Based on the cohesive nature of the Dior corset, in initial concept sketches the pavilion took on the form of a gridded field, contorted by the activation of a configuration of cables. In practice, however, 'contorted field' was too stiff, and its movements too mechanical to provide the feel of expansion and collapse I wanted. I consulted a mechanical engineering student at Yale, who recommended that I apply the constricting force in one direction, much like the joints on a finger. I developed a finger-like module that could curl and contract fluidly, and repeated the module at different lengths for the final form.

The final design of the pavilion is intended to curl and retract, mimicking the constrictive nature of the corset. Constructed with a series of flexible joints, the system contracts and expands as a series of cables are pulled and released. Each module can be controlled individually, allowing for multiple configurations of the pavilion’s interior space. Perforations allow light into the pavilion, reflected from the gilded exterior.