In an age of constant change, temporary structures have a special significance, for they allow a quick, flexible and usually cost-effective response to shifting needs. Buildings with a limited life also afford architects and planners greater freedom than permanent structures to explore unconventional spatial solutions, new materials and forms of construction or to play with visual ideas.
Classical examples of this are the usually elaborate pavilions designed for world expositions, which have often given birth to radical change. Examples of this include the entirely prefabricated Crystal Palace in London by Joseph Paxton, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion with its sense of flowing space and Frei Otto’s Expo Pavilion in Montreal, which later formed the prototype for the tent roofs of the Munich Olympic Stadium.
This issue of DETAIL shows the appeal of designing temporary structures in various typologies and with different projected lives. The spectrum ranges from a movable teahouse in bamboo and rice paper and demountable sunshades that form elegant urban appointments to a temporary lecture hall complex and refined emergency homes for tsunami victims.