Lisbon Architecture Trienniale 2013


Palacio Pombal, Lisbon, Portugal

Project Gallery

Originally developed by NASA to line the heat shields of rockets, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film coated with a metallic reflecting agent is super-insulative and incredibly strong, virtually waterproof and windproof. Known commonly as “space blankets,” these are often used in emergencies to prevent heat loss in the body and to act as temporary shelter from the elements.

The gardens of Palacio Pombal, the proposed site of our installation. The palace is currently the home of Carpe Diem Arte et Pesquisa.

For the 2012 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, we proposed an architectural installation to directly address the economic crisis gripping Europe.

We evoked an architecture of reflection, selecting and inverting significant spaces within the palace - the kitchen, the chapel, the ballroom, and transforming them both in material and in programmatic use.

In our proposal, the space blanket transforms the inverted elements as it takes on several functions: suspended between supports to create a hammock bed; stretched taut across a metal scaffold to skin the reflection tower; draped to create a mirrored canopy for the dance floor.

Places of interior reflection becomes places of exterior recreation, light twins of their interior counterparts. They remake and comment on the garden as a place of leisure, creating spaces to read, relax, reflect, dance, eat, extending the art center's program to the exterior.

The PET space blanket, an adaptive, reflective, portable, inexpensive, opportunistic means of creating space for events, literally and materially reflects a time of crisis.