ETH Zurich Pavilion at the IDEAS CITY Festival in New York

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Commissioned by ETH Global, the Assistant Professorship of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel and the Professorship of Architecture and Structure Philippe Block will be building a pavilion at New York City’s First Street Garden as part of the New Museum’s IDEAS CITY festival, May 28 – 30th, 2015.

Using waste products as construction material, the structure aims to redefine our perception of refuse, acknowledging its capacity as a substance from which to construct new cities. Waste was seen for centuries as something specific which neither belonged to the family of natural resources nor to the one of finished products. Waste was a by-product, an (ideally) invisible part in the making and existing of our cities.

But waste could also be understood as an integral part of what we define as a resource. This metabolic thinking understands our built environment as an interim stage of material storage. The ETH Pavilion will be an example of this approach using a common waste product: beverage cartons as its construction material. The expressive pavilion is designed to allow the use of a non-standard, weak material in construction.To keep the stresses in the material low, the shape follows the flow of forces, resulting in a vaulted structure in compression. Thanks to its overall double curvature and the triangular sections of the arches, which give the structure a deeper section for the same thickness and weight, the shell is stable and safe.

Underneath and within this structure, ETH Global will curate a program following the theme of the pavilion. The exhibition ‘Building from Waste’ displays over 25 construction materials derived from waste, activating resources within our cities that have remained invisible until now. A covered area for about 30-40 people will provide space for invited guests from ETH Zurich and its partners to organize lectures and seminars for the general public. A bar will offer a variety of catering services throughout the duration of the festival.

Download detailed description of the ETH Zurich Pavilion (PDF, 4.5 MB).