DUS Architects

At a new festival in Rotterdam, the world's most fragile and temporary pavilion. 

Commenting on the brevity and precariousness of life, Erasmus likened man to a soap bubble (homo bulla), a vain, delusional creature who exerts much effort and time to erect “walls of bubbles” to insulate its base vulnerabilities with intricate systems of culture and knowledge. The barefaced fact of one’s finitude is, as Sartre facetiously and accurately noted, “a fart in a soap bubble”–to shamelessly exploit the metaphor–the noxious truth of extinction thinly veiled by the seeming vibrancy of the life about to pop.

That’s part of what the “Bubble Building” tries to express. Designed by DUS Architects for the ZigZagCity festival in Rotterdam, the pavilion is the world’s most temporary and fragile structure, comprised of 16 shallow hexagonal pools, each of which is filled with a reflective solution, that collectively form 35 square meteres of “soap surface”. Visitors grip handlebar frames at the base of the ponds and pull up to create iridescent globular volumes that appear different from one to the next but which last for all but a moment. The speed with which the form materializes and fades occludes any close reading of the emergent forms, and so the communal, participatory act itself assumes priority of place. At least two people are needed to construct each of the bubble cells, whose size and coverage corresponds to the number of participants cooperating uniformly across space.

The architects make explicit reference to the bursting of the worldwide economic ‘bubble’ that has galvanized significant reforms across all strands of government which paradoxically rebuild and dismantle the loci of public benefit and collective experience. This, coupled with the work’s concern with the fleeting temporality of existence, paints a pretty bleak picture. Yet, the architects are optimistic, choosing instead to see the beauty of temporary experiences, where “a multitude of soap walls and rainbow of colors” are perpetually replenished by the “old and young [who] join in to make the pavilion appear, over and over again.”

Via Dezeen

All photos courtesy DUS Architects Facebook

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  2. photo: Utah Department of Transportation workers inspect a highway bridge under construction on Interstate 15 in American Fork, Utah.
    Transportation

    What 4 Years of Trump’s Transportation Budgets Add Up to

    In his 2021 budget request, President Trump sends mixed messages about federal funding for highways, bridges, and railways. Sound familiar?

  3. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  4. Transportation

    Inside a Pedestrian-First ‘Superblock’

    A short film reveals the inner workings of Barcelona’s celebrated—and controversial—street revamps.

  5. Equity

    What Mike Bloomberg Got Wrong About Redlining and the Financial Crisis

    Comments about New Deal-era housing discrimination made by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg echo a familiar narrative about minority homeowners.

×