Thursday, March 4, 2010

the [c] squared pavilion

Austin celebrates life, art and nature, which is evident in the many attractions the city has to offer. Two of these attractions are the SXSW festival and the Congress Avenue Bats. Both bring participants and spectators from around the world to partake in progressive creative alliance and to witness a natural phenomenon. Communication, human and natural, is vital for these events to occur, and because it takes place between many players it is referred to as collective communication. The [c] squared pavilion captures this element of communication to represent this celebration.

the journey

Our search for the TOGS3 form began with the site. The site is located in the state of Texas, in Travis County, in the city of Austin, down to the Colorado River, which divides the city between north and south Austin. The art fair will take place along the banks and on the bridges of the river at East 1st St, Congress Ave, and South 1st St.

We then contemplated the physical site by looking at the city grid, the architecture within the grid and the construction of the bridges. The bridges interestingly had the same form in plan and elevation. The bridges took us to the Colorado River, which divides the city between north and south banks, and as most rivers do, delineates two cultures within the city.

We then reflected on the culture of the city. The University of Texas at Austin makes this town quite diverse. The population is comprised of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, and blue- and white-collar workers, all of whom refer to themselves as Austinites. This diversity has encouraged the development of an artistic community in Austin—one that is well-known for music, film, and interactive technologies, as well as the creation of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.

Since its debut in 1987 SXSW has brought the creative world's attention to Austin. The caliber of arts, sponsors and dialogue taking place at this festival made it an avenue of communication between Austin and the art capitals of the world. According to SXSW’s website (, the music festival brings in approximately 12,000 registrants to Austin, and the film and interactive events brings in roughly 17,000 more. For a city to host 29,000 festival goers we considered the logistics involved and SXSW as an avenue of communication—namely the communication necessary to make the event such as this happen. We examined each of the SXSW venues and made connections between every point, and slowly our form began to emerge.

With a basic form in place, we proceeded to look at other Austin attractions. The Congress Bridge is known for housing more than a million bats, a phenomenon that became of immediate interest. Each evening at dusk from March until November, 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats fly out from under the bridge in search of food. According to the Austin City Guide website, (, these bats consume about 10,000 to 30,000 insects a night. These bats in particular are a major attraction in Austin and their flight begins and ends at the TOGS site.

It is remarkable to think of 1.5 million bats coordinating a departure and return flight every night, and we became interested in how this mass in flight occurs. Further, we became more interested in the communication required among this mob flying in unison. Bats use sound waves, specifically sonar waves, to communicate, navigate, and avoid collision. We took a moment to consider these sonar waves with the sound waves of the SXSW music festival. While considering this, we were drawn more to the patterns created by the flight of the bats; more specifically the movement of their wings in air. The bats create an intricate pattern, or appearance of a pattern in flight, which provided the pattern we eventually incorporated into our form. A triangle was used as the basis for this pattern because it distinguishes three points, which represent the three components of SXSW. The shape is also significant because it can be divided multiple times from any of its three points without loosing its original shape. Similar to a swarm, regardless of the large number, the participants’ reactions parallel each other to meet a common goal.

In both SXSW, and the flight of the bats, collective communication is vital to the event actualizing. The form created is representative of these two instances of collective communication. The skeleton of the form emerged from the communication lines between SXSW venues and pattern cut out in the skin represents the pattern created by the flight of the bats. This cladding can collapse and be easily transported to another location. Recycled materials will be used in constructing the structure and skin.

the ideas

the competition

Art Alliance Austin Temporary Outdoor Gallery Space 3
International Ideas Competition 2010

The third annual Temporary Outdoor Gallery Space Ideas Competition (TOGS 3) enhances the global dialogue between art and architecture while offering emerging professionals in the fields of architecture and design the opportunity to garner international attention.

This Ideas Competition generates innovative proposals for a temporary outdoor structure that will function simultaneously as an exhibition space and as an architectural exhibition.

TOGS™ challenges the visual and conceptual boundaries of the outdoor gallery space, transforming the open-air art fair experience into one that showcases the synergy between art and architecture and brings both to the public realm.

Phase I 
The TOGS™ International Ideas Competition generates innovative proposals for a temporary outdoor structure that will function simultaneously as an exhibition space and as an architectural exhibition.  

General Requirements
1.  Successful TOGS design submissions should push the limits of creativity for exhibiting art. The official sizes for the  TOGS are both 10'-0” x 10'-0” x 12'-0 or 10'-0” x 20'-0” x 12'-0. You may select one size for your primary design submission, but your design concept must be readily and easily transformable into both sizes.

2. The TOGS design should function like a gallery. Designers must keep in mind that the TOGS is intended to be portable, temporary and exposed to outdoor elements. TOGS design proposals must, at a minimum, identify a temporary means of installation for the TOGS, and provide illustrations for how the TOGS reinvent the outdoor exhibition space, and how various art mediums can be displayed.

3. The design must address portability and transportation

4. TOGS design submissions are to illustrate proper accessibility for the public.

5.  While not a requirement, TOGS competition submissions are encouraged to incorporate sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.

6.  For the purposes of this competition, the context of the site or any portion of the site is to be utilized. Ultimately, the TOGS can be installed in any location.

Jury Evaluation Criteria
1. Meets program requirements (e.g., portability, transportability, size requirements)

2. Innovation and creativity in design

3. Integration of the TOGS TM into the site Flexibility in presenting various art mediums a.

4. Site plan incorporating TOGS™ proposal into the site or portion of the site.

Submission Requirements 
1. Presentation Board
One (1) Portrait format, 24" x 36" (60cm x 90cm) mounted on board no thicker than 1/2" (13mm). Images will not project more that 1/8" (3mm) from the surface of the board. The entrant's presentation board is to be numbered on the reverse side and front bottom right corner with ONLY the registration number provided. It is recommended that the presentation include some of the following:

a. Site plan incorporating TOGS™ proposal into the site or portion of the site.
b. Conceptual design process.
c. Plans, sections, and perspective views, but the scale of each is left up to the entrants. Additional drawings and text may be included if they will further explain your project.

2. CD-ROM containing PDF files of the board. PDF files will have a minimum resolution of 200 DPI. NOTE: If you submit via local printer, this item #2 is not required.

3. A copy of the written description (in English), 8.5"x11" (size A4) Portrait Format, PDF File. E-mail to: with your registration number as the subject.

the sketches

the research [1]

zaha hadid

rem koolhass

the research [2]

elena manferdini

miscellaneous images