Roll the … Building?

From the air, it looks like something blown over onto it’s side, just another casualty of mother nature. From the ground, it looks like an art sculpture, interesting and colorful. In reality, it’s a transformer. No, not the cool shape-shifting alien robots from Cybertron. This Transformer is a building concept designed by Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, and built by Prada.

The Transformer is flipped and rolled by a group of large cranes, placing the building into one of four configurations. When the hexagon face is flat on the ground, the building serves as a platform for fashion exhibits. Place the circular face on the ground and you have a raised platform for special events. The circular platform in the middle also serves as a projector when the platform is placed on the square face. The square face has raised seating, making it perfect for movie viewing. And finally, when the cross-shaped face is placed on the ground, the building is in the perfect configuration for art exhibits.

The entire building will be covered with a smooth elastic membrane, serving as walls, keeping the entire pavilion free from rain and wind. It remains to be seen how durable that membrane will be with the pavilion being rolled around.

The structure is quite impressive and different. I wonder, however, about the necessity to use large cranes to move it around. Obviously these are necessary as the pavilion likely weighs several hundred tons. The presence of the cranes, however, detracts from the attractiveness of the structure, as well as causing damage to the surrounding grounds. Of course, how else are you going to shift the pavilion from one configuration to another.

The transformer is currently located in Seoul, Korea and will be there from March until July, 2009.


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