This Bubble Building pavilion was designed by DUS architects who were commissioned by the IABR (International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam) and Rotterdam Festivals/ZigZagCity. It was on display in the city centre of Rotterdam for two weeks in spring 2012.
The Bubble Building pretends to be the world’s most delicate and temporary pavilion, made entirely of soap film. It instigates action and interaction, as it only appears when visitors build it themselves, yet collectively.
This Pavilion consists of 16 hexagonal shaped ponds; a form found naturally in clustered bubbles. Together, the steel ponds add up to 35 m2 of reflective surface. Visitors can carefully tread on here, wearing rubber boots. It’s a surreal image, as if they are walking on water. The building itself is nowhere to be seen just yet; only a few handlebars hint at what needs to be done. Once everyone positions themselves and pulls up the steel frames, the pavilion shows. It is an instant spectacle. Immense iridescent soap walls appear, like a wafer thin façade of fluid glass, each time different. Once the bubble pops, what remains is the enthusiasm in young and old to do it again and again.
While the building is temporary, the architectural themes it refers to are monumental. It makes tangible the eternal cycle of building and rebuilding. Additionally, the popping bubble alludes to the economic crisis and its effects on the real estate sector and consequently, architecture. Continuing this thought, the Bubble Building is also about emerging new forms of collective building, as it takes at least two persons to erect one cell of the pavilion. The more people join in, the larger the pavilion can potentially become.
Visitors of the pavilion are invited to eternalize their own momentary version of the pavilion in a bubble snapshot. With the aid of social media numerous different bubble buildings are joined. It is in these pictures that the true beauty of the pavilion is found: the remembrance. As ultimately, the Bubble Building is about beauty.
Rotterdam philosopher Erasmus once said ‘homo bulla est’, or ‘man is a soap bubble’. Life is ephemeral. It is said that a temporary experience is more delightful, because of the fact that it is only temporary.