International shortlist announced for design of new pavilion at Woking's Lightbox

By Culture24 Staff | 18 March 2009
A picture of a circular wave made of wood panels arching over a floor

Picture © IN & EDIT Architecture, France, courtesy Tent London, UK

Eye-catching architectural plans in the shape of arrows, waves and dominoes have been revealed among the shortlist to build a new £50,000 pavilion at the Lightbox in Woking.

Commissioned with half the proceeds of the innovative centre’s Art Fund Prize 2008 triumph, the five designers include entries from France, America and Greece after a judging panel including Architecture Foundation Director Sarah Ichioka and Turner Prize-nominated artist Richard Wilson whittled down more than 600 applications from 52 countries.

A picture of a tail-like structure of wooden panels in a concrete garden

Picture © IN & EDIT Architecture, France, courtesy Tent London, UK

“The response to this competition has been astonishing, both for the number and variety of entries and their creativity,” said Art Fund Director David Barrie, who applauded the Lightbox’s contest as “a really imaginative use of The Art Fund Prize.”

“It was difficult to select just five, and any one of them could be a worthy winner, which makes the task of making the final choice a real challenge. One thing is for sure – whichever design is chosen, The Art Fund Pavilion is going to be a new jewel in the crown won for Woking by The Lightbox.”

Greek outfit AREA’s green cabin vision aims to offer the community “a new place of exploration and social enjoyment” and French company In & Edit’s wood-panelled outline is a snaking tail with a curviness which uses “optimised wood cutting allowing each piece to be different” in “pre-mounted elements like a 3D puzzle.”

A picture of a set of wooden boxes veering off in different directions

© Karim Muallem, UK, courtesy Tent London, UK

Tina Manis Associates arrive from across the pond with an angular mould apparently inspired by the global financial crisis and, of the two UK candidates, Feix&Merlin foresee a thin glasshouse structure, contrasted by Jarim Muallem’s compact box resembling a cross between a treehouse and a completed Jenga puzzle.

Jimmy MacDonald, of organisers Tent London, attributed the “unprecedented” interest in the competition to a “global slowdown being experienced by many professional practices.”

“Along with the other members of the jury, I was impressed by the entrants' rigour and inventiveness in meeting the competition brief, and I am particularly delighted that the shortlisted entries represent a wide range of international practice,” said Ichioka, echoing the sentiments of design consultants Facit, who will be providing state-of-the-art technology for the building process.

“When we established this competition we hoped it would stimulate interest from designers, but hardly imagined that it would receive this kind of global recognition,” admitted Lightbox Director Marilyn Scott.

“It is also wonderful that professionals take The Lightbox seriously and wantto be involved with our award-winning building.”

Samples from the shortlist and other entries will be exhibited at The Lightbox from 31 March – April 12 2009, with the winner announced on April 6.

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