London 2012 BMW Group PavilionEdit profile
The British have a particular fondness for the Victorian bandstand. Not much more than a lightweight roof supported on slender columns the idea of the bandstand is to get close to nature by stripping back the architecture to a minimum. There is no role for exotic form and shape-making: the architecture's beauty comes not from itself but rather from its open attitude to its natural surroundings.
With the Victorian bandstand as a point of departure, the BMW Group Pavilion seeks a similar relationship to its setting. In practice, this has involved addressing questions of spectacle and presence, of the relationship to BMW's product and service offering, and of sustainability.
Positioned directly on the Waterworks River in the Olympic Park the pavilion required a certain presence and aesthetic interest. This is achieved by re-imagining the classical podium — the base that thrusts the architecture upwards — as something completely immaterial or ethereal, but with even more power to excite and inspire. The traditional plinth is massive and heavy. The pavilion plinth is immaterial, light, and animated: water streams down around the ground floor creating a constantly changing facade. The first floor that forms the plinth is covered with water; this water spills down on all four sides of the pavilion entirely covering the ground floor. This urban water wall therefore forms a liquid podium apparently supporting the delicate pavilions above it. We envisage the water doing more than creating an exciting visual effect. The surface of the first floor is essentially a thin reflective pool. This pool reflects its environment: the cars, the visitors and the Olympic site. The flowing water also creates an enclosure. The pavilion is thus able to capture the intimacy and ‘other worldliness’ associated with life behind the waterfall. But above all, the waterfall creates excitement through animation, noise, and constant change.
Description by architects