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'Switch to Pure Volvo' Pavilion, Italy

Thursday 11 Jul 2013

Fully charged design from SDA

Images: Synthesis Design + Architecture, Inc 
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Freeflowing form with hidden charging cable wins 'Switch to Pure Volvo' contest 

Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) and engineers Buro Happold have won a competition to design a portable pavilion to showcase the new plug-in electric hybrid car from Volvo, the V60. The ‘Switch to Pure Volvo’ competition was hosted by architecture magazine The Plan and amassed more than 150 submissions with SDA and Buro Happold’s undulating design coming out on top.

The winning pavilion is a continuous organic HDPE mesh form with photovoltaic panels incorporated into its fabric, tensioned over carbon fibre rods. Once assembled, the pavilion will be used in presentations and fairs in Italy so SDA and Buro Happold have conceptualised a design that harnesses the natural energy of the sun to recharge the car while it is not in motion.

A charging cable is subtly woven into the fabric of the pavilion and will provide energy to power the vehicle via the photovoltaic panels. This was one of the key design elements that won the team the competition. Another important element of the design was the ease at which the pavilion can be transported. It is possible to fully collapse the structure into a small tent bag which can then be transported to the chosen location on the back of the V60.

Of the team’s winning design, Principal at Buro Happold Greg Otto explains: “Membrane structures present numerous challenges in converging architectural intentions with engineering first principles. Our engineering team will refine the geometries prepared by SDA using proprietary software based upon dynamic relaxation to optimise the form, design the structural boundary conditions, and ultimately pattern the fabric.” The pavilion is due to be put to use in September 2013. 

Key Facts

Status Competition win
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Synthesis Design + Architecture

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