steam-bent timber pavilion presented at tallinn architecture biennale 2019

steam-bent timber pavilion presented at tallinn architecture biennale 2019

the 5th edition of the tallinn architecture biennale (TAB 2019) has opened in estonia, with a host of exhibitions and installations presented under the theme ‘beauty matters’. curated by london-based architect yael reisner, the festival celebrates architecture’s aesthetic experience and aims to ‘elevate the status of beauty in response to alienating and ecologically unfit built environments’. outside the biennale’s main venue, the museum of estonian architecture, stands one of the event’s most eye-catching projects — a steam-bent timber pavilion.

all images © tõnu tunnel



titled ‘steampunk’, the installation has been designed by soomeen hahm and igor pantic (tutors at the bartlett school of architecture), cameron newnham and gwyllim jahn of fologram, and engineering designers format. standing on top of a small mound, the timber installation gives the topics raised during the tallinn architecture biennale a prominent visual manifestation in the cityscape and will remain in place until the biennale’s next edition in 2021.



standing at a height of 4 meters (13ft), the pavilion was created using analogue tools augmented with the precision of mixed reality environments. according to the design team, ‘steampunk’ rethinks applications and traditions of craft in pursuit of their evolution, and challenges visitors to reassess how they view contemporary architectural design. the installation explores an adaptive design and fabrication system that is resilient to wide tolerances in material behavior and fabrication accuracy, occupying an in between state that is neither purely analogue nor purely automated.



the pavilion is built from ash wood that can be bent more easily than any other timber. to give more strength to the structure, parts of the installation are made from thermally modified wood that is produced by estonian company thermory. the process makes wood more durable in different weather conditions from extreme cold and snow to direct sun. the 2019 tallinn architecture biennale continues until november 17th, 2019.



project info:


installation name: steampunk
design: gwyllim jahn, cameron newnham (fologram, AU), soomeen hahm design (UK), igor pantic (UK), format engineers (UK)
project team: soomeen hahm, igor pantic, gwyllim jahn, cameron newnham, nick van den berg, hanjun kim, kiheung kwon, eri sumitomo, katerina konstantinidou and jakub klaska


exhibition name: tallinn architecture biennale (TAB 2019)
theme: beauty matters
dates: september 11 – november 17, 2019
head curator: dr. yael reisner (london)
assistant curator for curatorial competition entry: johanna jõekalda (tallinn)
curators’ assistants: liina soosaar (tallinn), barnaby gunning (london)
production: eve arpo, maria kristiin peterson (estonian centre for architecture)
school’s exhibition curators: merilin kaup, ulla alla, margus tammik (tallinn)
satellite program curator: kirke päss (tallinn)

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