Bubble Building

The world’s most temporary pavilion

The Bubble Building is the world’s most delicate and temporary pavilion, made entirely of soap bubble. It instigates action and interaction, as it only appears when visitors build it themselves, yet collectively.

The Bubble Building consists of 16 hexagonal shaped ponds; a form found naturally in clustered bubbles. Together, the steel ponds realise 35 m2 of reflective surface. Visitors can carefully tread on here, wearing rubber boots. It generates a surreal image, as if they were 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 facade of fluid glass, each time different. Once the bubble pops, what remains is the eagerness in young and old to do it again. And again.

Architectural themes
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 is a materialisation of 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.

Mental Monument
Visitors are invited to eternalise their own momentary version of the pavilion in a bubble snapshot, which is then transferred to a website. Here online, numerous different bubble buildings appear together. It is in these pictures that the true beauty of the pavilion lies: the remembrance. As ultimately, the Bubble Building is about beauty.

Client: ZigZagCity/Rotterdam Festivals and IABR
Program: DIY Bubble Building Pavilion
Location: Rotterdam
Phase: Realised Spring 2012
Project team: Hans Vermeulen, Martine de Wit, Hedwig Heinsman, Martijn van Wijk, Jan Haeck, Inara Nevskaya, Luuk Tondeur