Museum of Craft and Design Showcases Pavilions

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For six months, the Museum of Craft and Design will be transformed into “an immersive architectural environment” as part of Architectural Pavilions. The exhibition will be among the Museum’s longest, focusing on the importance of design, in an attempt to appeal to the Bay Area’s robust architectural community.

London-based guest curator Mariah Nielson, who grew up in California, was inspired by the European tradition of pavilions. From 2009 to 2011, she was a MCD curator; her background as an architect and design historian informed her work.  “An architectural pavilion is traditionally defined as a free-standing structure; an object of pleasure. Pavilions are typically constructed for temporary events or display, with their unorthodox forms contributing to their spectacular appearance.”

According to MCD assistant curator Ariel Zaccheo, pavilions can be easily put together and taken apart.  She likened them to follies, ornamental buildings with little or no practical purpose.

Architectural Pavilions features two site-specific installations by local architects. Sunset-based artist and craftsman, Jay Nelson, is best known for his imaginative work with reclaimed wood. “I’m interested in architectural forms because of the weight they carry in our lives. On the most basic level they provide us with a safe place to rest and think, but they also determine the way we interact with each other and create a frame for the outside world. Arranging the pieces of a structure is infinite and those arrangements make us who we are.”

Dogpatch-based IwamotoScott, led by Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, is located at 18th and Tennessee streets, just a stone’s throw from the MCD. The firm pursues architecture as a form of applied design research.  Their MCD installation was created with the assistance of Iwamoto’s University of California, Berkeley architecture students.

Six previously constructed pavilions are represented by material samples, drawings, prints, films, small-scale models and digital photographs.

London-based architectural studio, Carmody Groarke, established in 2006 by Kevin Carmody and Andrew Groarke, exhibits their 2014 projects White Cube at Glyndebourne, Maggie’s Centre Clatterbridge, and Studio East Dining. Bloom, from Do/Su Studio Architecture, features models used for testing various materials and treatments. This project, in collaboration with Los Angeles-based Materials & Applications, was designed to find materials that react to heat, as created by direct sunlight and exposure to ambient temperatures. When the material’s surface is cool, it appears solid; when heated up, the panels open and “bloom,” representing kinetic properties without the need of a power source.  The process of extensive experimentation is evidenced by the different models exhibited.

Warren Techentin Architecture’s La Cage Aux Folles, another collaboration with M&A, explores geometry through bent Schedule 40 steel tubes. On view is a 3D printed model, as well as drawing and process prints. SITU Studio shows replicas and material samples from Solar Pavilion 1 and 2, commissioned for a solar-powered festival devoted to raising awareness about environmental sustainability. Solar Pavilion 1 is made primarily of recycled and waste material; Solar Pavilion 2 was meant to be easily built without expertise, and is customizable and collapsible. SITU is also represented by their design of Google Creative Lab’s New York offices, a 30,000-square foot modular, reconfigurable workplace. 

Architectural Pavilions will be beautiful and exciting, as it offers innovative and imaginative ways of envisioning the built environment,” emphasized assistant curator Zaccheo.

Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts is at the Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 Third Street between 22nd and 23rd streets through January 7, 2018;