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Vitro Pavilion

Glass pavilion performs a disappearing act

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Photo © aybar.mateos.arquitectos

Ephemeral structures often inspire the imagination, and leave a more influential legacy, than buildings that are actually constructed to last. Such may be the case with the Vitro Pavilion, which aybar.mateos.arquitectos designed for the Veteco 2006 International Window, Curtainwalls and Structural Glass Trade Show. The entire project was designed, built, and destroyed in less than six months—and indeed was only open to visitors for 100 hours during the four-day exposition. But a lot can be accomplished in six months.

The architect describes the Vitro Pavilion as “fast and disposable architecture built with rubbish,” which refers to more than just the project’s lifespan. The structure was comprised of 25,000 pieces of glass recycled from construction sites. When float glass sheets are cut to size, waste inevitably results—so the architect collected 170 tons of surplus cuttings and then used them to form dividing walls for the pavilion. The pavilion’s exterior shape was a perfect geometric form, orthogonal and flat, while its interior was an amorphous space. Like the molecular structure of the glass, it was regular and flat outside but heterogeneous inside. This geometrical system allowed a larger interior perimeter and created more exhibition space.

The architect stacked sheets of glass in relation to their transparency, darker panes at the bottom of the wall, and extra-clear ones at the top. The superposition of different types of glass created a greenish, varied atmosphere, where the wall disappeared gradually and stratified the image of the pavilion—an effect the architect likened to the theme of appearance and disappearance in video artist Bill Viola’s work “Tiny Deaths.” Eventually, at the end of the trade show, visitors dismantled the Vitro pavilion, a disappearing act that proved its temporal character.

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Formal name of project:
Vitro Pavilion


Gross square footage:
2,000 sq. ft.

Vitro Cristalglass S.L.
C/Naraya SN
Poligono Industrial Cobo Calleja
Fuenlabrada, Madrid 28947 Spain

C/Albasanz 75, 1D
Madrid 28037 Spain
34-91-754-55-61 tel.

Camila Aybar & Juan Jose Mateos

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