wald’s timber pavilion at the gardens of Villa Médici, rome
Nestled in the historic gardens of the Villa Médici in the heart of Rome, Italy, WALD presents protoCAMPO, a dismountable pavilion which superimposes two archetypes of the Roman city: the agora and the cupola. The agora is interpreted as a lightweight, prefabricated timber structure as a place of gathering, events, mediation and mediation, topped by an inflatable white dome serving as the cupola. Drawing on primitive construction, the French architecture studio conceives protoCAMPO as a single large roof shelter to host an array of cultural concerts, performances and conferences during the Villa Médici Festival des Cabanes 2022. The pavilion seats 350 people under the cupola while remaining completely open to the sunlight and lush greenery of the garden which seeps in through the frame. Exploring the notions of sustainability and flexibility within mobile architecture, protoCAMPO embodies positive social and environmental impact, offering self-sufficiency, reversibility of uses over time, and ecological materials which enable a less rigid and more open architecture.
all images courtesy of the author
melding historic archetypes from the Roman city
With protoCAMPO, the architects at WALD employ a combination of both high- and low-tech construction techniques. The low-tech prefabricated timber structure of the agora was designed and built in collaboration with 44 technical high school students over a year, assembled by hand using traditional and basic carpentry and joinery assemblage techniques. The partnership gives value to, and enables the showcase of the technical knowledge of the students. Meanwhile, in a display of high-tech construction the lightweight inflatable cupola unfolds in under an hour to take shape as a 6m diameter high dome that weighs only 300kg, and creates an optimal acoustic environment to host live events.
From 25th May to 2nd October, the gardens of Villa Médici — a 350-years-old French Academy in Rome that welcomes artists for year-long residencies — will host several events, conferences, performances, and design installations. WALD’s protoCAMPO subtly plays and interacts with the rhythm of Villa Médici’s garden. The repetitive timber frame agora echoes the classical renaissance grid structure of the garden, and frames views of the 200-years-old pine trees and the historic 16th-century Villa. The dialogue between the pavilion and the surrounding nature evolves over the day, engaged in a dynamic dialogue with the sun path and arboreal rhythm.
the timber pavlion with an inflatable dome isn nestled in the historic gardens of the Villa Médici
protocampo: a primitive, sustainable, mobile pavilion
Frédérique Barchelard and Flavien Menu, founders of WALD, designed the pavilion in collaboration with students at the Haroun Tazieff high school, and partners at Villa Médici’s Residence Pro educational programme which bridges craftsmanship and culture. protoCAMPO is a built-manifesto belonging to WALD’s three-part series of contemporary, dismountable buildings called proto-architecture. The series aims to develop prefabricated structures that are ecological, locally sourced, and more mobile and flexible in their use with a quick capacity of implementation. The three pavilions demonstrate both low-tech and high-tech to highlight traditional know-how and technological innovations, assembly and disassembly process to foster recycling and flexibility, for spaces that encourage thought, dialogue and imagining new ways of living.
protoCAMPO superimposes two archetypes from the Roman city: the agora and the cupola
the prefabricated timber structure is assembled by hand using traditional carpentry and joinery techniques