L Design Mash-Up: Popup Pavillion

Lincoln Park, Chicago Flickr.com © All rights reserved by Scott Friedman.

Parks are great. Most people have been to one and there is usually something for everyone to do. That is why people gather in parks. There might be shade which is a welcome relief on a hot summer day. Sometimes there is grass which can cool the air, and feels great on bare feet.

Parks are also places where people gather. Sometimes it is a small group of friends or a large group of strangers. Their plans may include a whole day of events, or a park is a convenient place to start an activity. What can you, as a designer, provide a park visitor that would make their experience more useful and more enjoyable.

Design Challenge Background

One thing which is useful is some kind of pavilion. Parks have plenty of landscape, but you always need something to set a grill on, or hand out materials for passersby. You always see tents but tables are always leaning over and if it rains people have to stand in the mud. Yuck.

So the client wants a pavilion. They want to make sure their hot dogs do not roll off the grill and their sandals stay mud free. One more challenge is they want to pack up their pavilion and take it home at the end of the day.

Design Challenge Brief

Your challenge is to design a park pavilion that is deployable, visible, can be packed in a van, and then stored in a small storage room. The structure should be easy to assemble and even include some kind of temporary storage while it is in use. It should include places to sit and somewhere to add information either on signs that can be swapped out or digitally.

Design Program / Parameters

The overall area of the deployed pavilion should be no bigger than 12’x12’.

There should be some seating and storage. A user should be able to level the platform on an irregular surface. You do not have to include steps, the main platform should be as close to the ground as possible but you can add a second platform level.

The final design must be visible and clearly branded. This can be through form, color, or materials. The pavilion must be able to disassemble and be transported. Pieces can fold and stack on each other.

How do you Collect Information for this step of the design process?

FIGMENT 2010 City of Dreams: Living Pavilion, New York City, New York © 2010 Jason Eppink

In the Collect Info step of the design process, you try to gather as much information as possible about pavilions as well as structures that are modular and are quickly assembled and disassembled.

Look for small structures and carts, and think about your own experiences in parks and public plazas. Also think about when you have visited festivals or events and reflect on both positive and negative incidents.

Try This

  • Make a list of experiences that you really liked or disliked. Discuss with your peers and compare notes.
  • Layout how big a 10’x10’ or 12’x12’ area is so that you understand the scope of your project.
  • Study examples of pavilions using the internet and in books or magazines.
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photo of a park or event space you are familiar with. Did this bring up any memories? You can use this as a test site to start developing ideas. Remember, the final design will have the capacity to be located anywhere.
  • On a piece of tracing paper placed over the aerial photo of the site you found. Note any special features and be specific with any memories you have about the site.

Think About

  • What do think about when you consider something being portable? Or being deployable?
  • What kinds of materials are more conducive to moving, carrying, or assembling. A concrete shell would be cool, but can it fit in a van?
  • How can this structure be dynamic and not static?
How do you Brainstorm Ideas for this step of the design process?

DIY Reykjavik Pavillion, Shift Architecture © Shift

What inspires you? 

In the Brainstorm Ideas step of the design process, you might gather some early big ideas of things that inspire you when thinking about your pavilion. Use this step to gather all of the images and ideas that inspire you.

Try This

  • What kind of atmosphere encourages fun and socializing? What about for relaxing?
  • What types of activities would take place in your pavilion? Find images on Flickr.com that represent how you want the space to feel.
  • Should your pavilion be able to support other uses located next to it, or nearby?
  • What kind of furniture or equipment would be used within your pavilion? Search on Flickr.com for cool furniture, equipment, or technology that might work on your pavilion.
  • Save copies of the images you find, and post them in the slides for your project. Include a hyperlink to the Flickr photo in the caption, to credit the photographer.
  • Post images of colors, designs, textures, or other things that inspire you in this step. Make sure you give credit to your source!
  • Color and lighting are both very important to create different types of moods. What mood would you like to feel? What colors help achieve this mood? If you add lighting what are the best kind of lights, or the best light scheme (string lights, floor mounted, pole mounted, etc.)

 Think About

  • Always consider anything you think of must be able to break down, fold up, and all be able to be moved and stored in a van or small truck.
  • You want to be the center of attention but not scare off the neighbors!
How do you Develop Solutions for this step of the design process?

Bedford Park Pavillion, London, England. Flickr.com © All rights reserved by canonsnapper.

In the Develop Solutions step, your rough ideas come together with drawings or models that can show others your solutions for a new, innovative pavilion.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teachers, friends and family, and design mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time.

This means that while you're working on your digital project, you’ll want to be sure to keep resaving any files or models with a new file name as you work through the steps. Maybe add a date and time to the file name.

Try This

  • Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, or video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model.
  • Consider including the following types of spaces and furnishings:

- A place to study or read
- Seating area to meet with friends
- Lounging area (is this different than seating area?)
- Artificial lighting for evening events (and what is the purpose of the lighting, to do a task or for a mood?)
- Structures to provide shade or block the wind
- A way to display information, or to display artwork and posters
- Trash bins or recycling, maybe a bike rack

How do you create a Final Design for this step of the design process?

Paul Raff Studio Garden Pavillion © steven evans

The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text, and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who has never seen your room before.

Good piece of advice: Your drawings and models should have enough information so that someone you've never met can see your project and understand what you are trying to say and how your design works. Pretty simple!

Try This

  • Make sure you define the overall layout of your new pavilion. Is there furniture that moves based on the task at hand? How does it work?
  • What color or colors will be used? What colors have inspired you?  What kind of finishes would you like to use, and why?
  • Include some human figures in your final models and drawings, so we can see how big your space really is and how it may be used.
  • Upload additional images of your finished design for your project portfolio. Write short captions explaining your ideas and the view of the image.
  • Congratulations on solving this design challenge! Leave feedback comments for another group design and check out other projects in DiscoverDesign.org.