Cambridge University’s “Cardboard Banquet” 09.11.09

words Douglas Murphy

Third-year architecture students at the University of Cambridge under tutors Tom Emerson and Max Beckenbauer have designed and constructed a pavilion for a “cardboard banquet”. Both banquets and pavilions seem to be popular for architects right now: last year big names including Foster and Rogers queued up to have their designs rendered as foodstuffs for Bompas & Parr’s Architectural Jelly Banquet and the number of temporary structures seems to grow larger every summer, joining long-running pavilion projects by the Serpentine Gallery and the students from the Architectural Association’s intermediate unit 2.

In this case the programme was a party to celebrate the new year, but there was also a serious educational purpose to the event. In accordance with their unit theme of “Bricolage”, focusing upon notions of improvisation, adaptation and “making do”, the students’ challenge was to construct the pavilion entirely out of cardboard. With the assistance of paper product designer Rentaro Nishimura, and without any computer input, the students developed a modular yet flexible design with a folded plate structure.

The pavilion was fabricated in three days and erected in hours. The banquet was held on 23 October using furniture provided by first-year students and with music – appropriately – from an accordionist.

For more projects from the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show, pick up the December issue of icon, out soon.


All pictures Tom Emerson

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