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Low-impact pavilion reflects its natural environment


February 18, 2013

The Non Program Pavilion aims to seamlessly  integrate contemporary design with sustainability

The Non Program Pavilion aims to seamlessly integrate contemporary design with sustainability

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Architectural firm Jesus Torres Garcia has created a stunning multi-purpose pavilion that seeks to minimize impact on the environment, both by aesthetically blending with the surrounding landscape and through the use of passive solar design and unconventional construction methods.

Located in the south of Spain, the "Non Program Pavilion" is marked by sinuous exterior walls which soften its appearance while also giving the impression that the building is smaller than what it actually is. Drawing attention to the color of the earth, the rear is characterized by unstained natural wooden panels while the main façade boasts impressive floor to ceiling reflective glass panels which echo the surrounding landscape.

“The implementation of the frontage material has been realized by local artisans which assure a sustainability in an economical way,” senior architect Jesús Torres García told Gizmag.

Looking back at the pavilion from a distance the glass exterior seems to cloak the structure in an invisibility blanket with the neighboring landscape providing camouflage via the reflective walls. “I just love the fact that it actually disappears into the landscape,” says García. “This chameleon effect fascinates me more than I expected, it’s just magnetic.”

The foundation of the pavilion derives inspiration from what García calls a “root concept.” Like the keel of a yacht, the structure is tied to a single central impact point which limits its ground contact. “Following the idea of natural footprint, all the foundation charges have been accumulated on one single point,” says García. “As opposed to traditional buildings, which include several isolated foundation impact points, the pavilion emerges from a single root point.”

The interior concrete walling and roof system provides the building with passive thermal mass and the pavilion’s reflective glass windows also help to keep the sun’s heat out on hot days. “The Reflectasol glass reflects 80 percent of the sun's energy, lowering the greenhouse effect and limiting the amount of sunlight entering the pavilion,” says García. “This aspect provides a real sustainable comfort and limits the use of an external AC.”

The Non Program Pavilion will be used for a variety of public gatherings including school excursions, business conferences, meetings, concerts, social events and exhibitions.

Source: Jesus Torres Garcia via Designboom

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Unfortunately, there is one area where this design has a very HIGH - impact on the environment....birds' skulls. Mirror glass is a terrible idea in exterior architecture as has been well know and documented for decades.

-New York is a major stopover for migratory birds on the Atlantic flyway, and an estimated 90,000 birds are killed by flying into buildings in New York City each year: Audubon, NY Times, Sep 14, 2011

The annual estimated number of death by striking a building (all glass exterior/reflective architecture related) is 1 Billion in North America

WIND TURBINES kill 100,000 to 440,000 birds/year (calculated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). There are about 20,000 wind turbines in the U.S. There are about 705,000 office buildings (as of 2001). Presumably, those are not all glass.

Joseph Boe

@Joseph - This makes me sick to the stomach. We had installed large windows and the same thing happened. We had to put up decals all over the windows. It's awful to hear so many deaths that could be prevented. I hope something is being done about this!


monkeybrains - what you did is what is being done, largely. Some states in the US an similar regions in others countries are begining to require this extra step. Also, glass manufacturers are working on a glass that reflects unltraviolet light in a way that causes birds (who can see ultraviolet light, unlike us) to "see" the building they otherwise would not.

Joseph Boe
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