Students float new ideas

Pavilion of Reflections in Zürich, Switzerland by Studio Tom Emerson, ETH Zürich

At around five in the morning on 27 May this year, a curious vessel moored up at Bellevue on Lake Zürich in Switzerland. The floating structure, called Pavilion of Reflections, was part of Manifesta, an art biennial that tours across Europe. The 11th event was hosted in Zürich and it closed its doors in September.

The team behind the design and construction comprised 32 students from the architecture department at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), under the leadership of architect Tom Emerson. Onboard the platform is a large LED screen with audience seating, plus a swimming pool and a bar. The actual floating section is made from steel, while the rest of the pavilion uses Swiss spruce and simple birch plywood, and is designed for the easiest possible assembly. All the joints are held together with standard screws and simple steel fixings. The complex volumes of vertical and diagonal spruce timbers are manufactured at a Zimmerei (a structural joinery workshop) in Winthertur. The students took part in the on-site assembly.


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