In response to increasingly sweltering climatic conditions, Pneuma Pavilion acts as a sanctuary within an exposed pocket of Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne. Pneuma manifests an architecture that discerns topographic, social and environmental data in order to react to varying contextual circumstances. Alexandra Gardens requires such analysis as the site is subjected to variable topography, fluctuating use and extensive solar exposure.

‘Pneuma’ connotes a certain purity which is expressed in the self-referential pneumatic artefact arrayed across the site. The design extends from this pure light-filtration artefact towards an architecture that invokes the human user and society by translating social and environmental context into algorithmic inputs. By distorting this object into a multi-layered manifestation of recurring information flows, Pneuma provides an optimal setting that responds to ever-changing social and environmental events.

‘Pneuma’, meaning ‘breath and spirit’, encapsulates this harmony between pneumatic, social and environmental oscillation. Taking on the character of a cloud, Pneuma exhibits resplendent luminance and constant reorganisation. Refusal to settle on form negates traditional notions of solidity, permanence, and identity in order to pursue a life of adaptation and lightness. Ensembles of autonomous  elements aspire to an ever-changing form, allowing the pavilion to live in flux with its environmental and social surrounds.

Social Process: Topographical indexing indicates the type of social congregation inherently suited to specific areas across the site. Smaller values along a sloping edge conditions suggest use for small groups and short stay times, while a large flat condition lends itself to larger groups with long stay times. These indexes are converted into vectors to create two different spaces: smaller intimate space and larger social space. In response to social events, the pavilion undergoes metamorphosis through the pulling of cables to generate appropriately scaled spaces.

Environmental Process: A breathing pneumatic system autonomously reacts to constant feedback loops of solar information, determining the opening of individual cells. Solar insolation and shading coefficients are added and remapped to binary figures to control this fluctuation. This results in distinctly different form from any one time to another depending on light and climatic conditions.

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