Unrolling the convolute

Unrolling the convolute

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PONCHO VILLA

Competition

2012

A summer pavilion composed of an expansive field of extremely lightweight, interdependent convolutes (a closed surface that is neither a cone nor a cylinder, but can be unrolled from a sheet of paper), Poncho Villa is not a roof, a wall, or a canopy, but an artificial forest. Each convolute is wrapped in a translucent curtain that can be lifted to create a shaded clearing (for performances and picnics), or dropped to create a pocket of privacy. The frames of the convolutes are too light to stand on their own but tied together create a stable yet interactive structure that responds to the touch.

The convolutes are distributed evenly, creating a balanced split between inhabitable and solid space (which can also be inhabited). A few of the convolutes are sized x-large or fused with their neighbor, creating unexpected openings within the forest. The flexibility of the space creates architectural interest during both planned events and unplanned happenings. Navigating the field of convolutes reveals mysteries contained within. Wandering among them and lifting the skirts requires a pioneering spirit, but reveals unexpected delights (a musical performance, a smooching couple, a clandestine harvest, your parents...)

Poncho Villa is designed to be both built and disassembled by people, by hand, in a simple, efficient, and participatory manner. Although the convolutes are irregular in their geometry, the principle of their construction is straightforward and requires no expensive machinery or construction drawings. The frames of the convolutes - two loops connected by an eccentric axis - can be formed from ½” galvanized conduit using simple tools. The geometry of the frames does not require any particular precision. The shape of the skirts, cut from translucent polyethylene sheet, can be determined individually by rolling the constructed frames out over the ground and marking their paths of travel. The pavilion literally draws itself.