Zurich, Switzerland, 2013—2014
An invitation by the Landscape Architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan to design a ‘smoking pavilion’ within the garden of a private house in Zurich. Our proposal was to create a simple structure which would sit quietly in the garden, but possess a richness and complexity in its materiality which would develop several relationships with the surroundings. Built entirely from translucent concrete, as the light conditions change in time, the surfaces change and vary from heavy to light, from solid to translucent, from monochromatic and uniform to varied and coloured. As the first ever self-supporting translucent concrete building, a new system was developed with Gianni Botsford Architects, Tall Engineers, Litracon and Hammerlein, using a new variant of the translucent elements where the precast panels had to be very carefully engineered to structurally perform very efficiently to avoid a secondary structure. The casting was a delicate operation because of the very dense pattern of the PMMA translucent elements, the carefully positioned stainless steel reinforcement and the thinness of the panels. The final material looks very simple, but is the result of highly precise and advanced engineering.