HONG KONG – Built in only eleven days, a spiky temporary pavilion combined Hong Kong’s building customs and craftsmanship with digital design techniques.

Having won the 2012 Gold Award for the Lantern Wonderland design organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the giant light-weight geodesic structure occupied the Mid-Autumn Festival for 6 days in a reflective pool in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park.

Practice LEAD (an acronym for Laboratory for Explorative Architecture and Design) used the concept of a Chinese lantern to envisage the form, making references to the myths and traditions behind the festival: ‘According to the romantic story Chang’e (Moon Goddess of Immortality) lives on the moon, away from her husband Houyi who lives on earth. The couple can only meet on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival when the moon is at its fullest and most beautiful.’ To symbolize the passion between the couple, the six storey-high spherical structure was clad with fabric that resembled the shape and colour of flames.

Translucent fabric of eight differing colours (from intense ivory and yellow to orange, red and deep bordeaux), metal wire and bamboo were used to construct the pavilion – creating a light, colourful execution. An off-centre grid was designed digitally and formed primarily from steel. The slight tilt gave the dome an asymmetric form, altering angles to draw people into the sphere. A bamboo secondary structure held the fabric cladding which was lit by a spread of LED lights which varied in colour throughout the exhibition.

‘Through a combination of state-of-the-art digital design technology and traditional hand craftsmanship, complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means. It rethinks the premise of digital design by anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality’, say architects Kristof Crolla and Adam Fingrut of LEAD.

Photos courtesy of Kevin Ng, Grandy Lui, Pano Kalogeropoulos, LEAD, Hong Kong Tourism Board