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Mobilizarte: Mobile art pavilion

Exteriors | July 1, 2011 | By:

Riding on a cloud, promoting Brazil and art

In reality, art and sports are not such odd bedfellows. And Mobilizarte proves it. The 500m2 mobile art pavilion will tour Brazil for four years beginning in the summer of 2012, making stops at the 2014 FIFA World Cup match sites, and concluding it journey after the 2016 Olympics Games. Conceived as a public and cultural gathering place, Mobilizarte is the innovative design of Grimshaw Architects’ New York office in collaboration with client, Marc Pottier of France, and Arup Rio de Janeiro.

When up and running, Mobilizarte will travel to 10 cities and host a changing roster of international exhibitions, film festivals and art education events. The programming, curated by Pottier, will focus on various aspects of Brazilian art, culture and sport, and will be tailored to reflect the cultural proclivities and nuances of each host city.

According to Grimshaw associate and native Brazilian, Paulo Faria, the pavilion’s basic point of reference is the architecture and philosophy of the Brazilian Modern Movement, as manifested in the work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Oscar Niemeyer, Brasilia, and the movement’s belief in change and in the new.

“We didn’t want to refer to the Modern Movement by reusing its formal shapes and gestures because that’s not what Grimshaw does,” explains Faria. “Rather, we tried to use the optimistic and prospective aspects of the Brazilian Modern Movement in architecture, its belief in the new, as a [design] rationale to be expressed through technology and innovation. Our approach sees the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics as global celebrations that required an uplifting and festive design response.”

As a structure, Mobilizarte’s design concept is driven by mobility and proximity. It is constructed of prefabricated steel columns and wood trusses that support a prefabricated and panelized fiberglass roof. Raised floors and walls are made of prefabricated modular marine plywood for easy replacement even in remote locations in the northeast of Brazil. A stretched polymer fabric will be used to create a light-diffusing ceiling. On the roof, a phalanx of ETFE pillows will function as translucent skylights, and strategically placed PTFE balloons will double as retractable air dampers. The balloons and pillows will give Mobilizarte an aesthetically dramatic presence while simultaneously providing adjustable natural ventilation and opportunities for unique lighting schemes.

Significantly, the pavilion’s design adapts environmentally, economically and socially to every location, reinforcing that culture is for everyone. Each site will be prepared to create a distinct, landscaped garden with assistance from the local community. “Our proposal, even though quite interesting by its technical merits, has a lot more relevance if it is considered by its nuanced response to Brazilian sensibility,” says Faria. Art? Sports? Sure. But together so much more.

Mason Riddle writes regularly for Fabric Architecture about art and design.

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