Prada Transformer, Position 1: Fashion Exhibition

© Iwan Baan

’ latest project -The Transformer- is not just a building, but also a statement on today´s state of architecture. Dubbed the anti-blob, this “object” rejects all common blobby shapes we have seen lately. Simple geometrical shapes (a circle, a cross, a rectangle and an hexagon) enclose a space that depending on its rotation results on different spaces suitable for fashion exhibitions, cinema, art exhibitions and other special events. Each face is the platform on which these activities take place, while also being served by the other faces enclosing the space.

© Iwan Baan

A few weeks ago we showed you part of the construction progress, which is already finished and opened in April 15th with a fashion exhibition (Waist Down – Skirts by Miuccia Prada, see video of animated skirts at the exhibition), that will be opened until May 31 when the Transformer will rotate into Cinema mode.

Architecture photographer Iwan Baan recently visited the Prada Transformer and shared with us this impressive photo set of the Transformer on Exhibition mode (see more after the break).

For me, search for the ultimate flexible space and the use of regular shapes puts several things in question. Transformable architecture is nothing new, but in times on which “mixed use” seems to be the 2nd typical characteristic of a building after “green”, this project makes a stand. No fancy shapes, no wind diagrams, no fancy structure, no shiny surfaces, no eye candy renderings. No blob. Just, a simple building.


April 25th – May 31st: Waist Down – Skirts by Miuccia Prada. Exhibition showcasing a collection of skirts, ranging from the first-ever Prada show to recent ones.


June 26th – July 5th: Flesh, Mind and Soul. Film festival co-curated by Alejandro González Iñárritu (director Babel, 21 Grams).


July 30th – August 20th: Beyond Control. Exhibition by the Prada Foundation.


September 8th – Fashion Event, the final flip of the Transformer.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Cite: Basulto, David. "Prada Transformer, Position 1: Fashion Exhibition" 10 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Jon

    Ahhhhh yes yes .. it’s still a f’ing blob.

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  • Terry Glenn Phipps

    This takes the biscuit as the single most ridiculous starchitect ego-mess built to date. Such breathtaking hubris cannot fail to invoke nemesis.

    Earlier this evening I was looking at Francois de Menil’s website and thinking of the wonder an inspiration of the profession at art of architecture when approached with humility and attention to scale, form, and materials. It is reassuring to know that there are still people out there in the world making something that isn’t, well isn’t this Prada transformer nonsense.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  • Hermes

    Not even Iwan Baan’s superb photography could save this building from becoming oblivious.

  • A. Court

    C R A P

  • thiago

    again, he doesn’t need to do this…
    but I liked more than the renderings… I must confess that I’m kind of jealous, I really want to see this building working..

  • DCV

    Love it. It’s such a statement

    • Solyn

      DkOucr Good point. I hadn’t thought about it quite that way. :)

  • neutra

    please, somebody stop this man
    Rem please, be a journalist and live happy

  • SYD08

    This building is pretty far out there conceptually but I think it’s great due to that it’s an exhibition and the program is more flexible. I apprectiate that he comes up with these progressive ideas and get’s them built.

  • _m

    well I dont know..
    even on “great pictures” it looks pretty weird
    or maybe it’s an aim… ceating something so unpleasant to attract attention..than definitely well done :[

  • j

    would it KILL iwan baan to provide us with slightly bigger photos? ffs, it’s killing my eyes to get a closer look at some of the details…

  • davvid

    I really love this building. Its like a dream. Amazing.

  • mn x

    all you doubters and haters out there…

    …bite me

  • Drunkmuse

    This Pavillion once again, is the perfect answer to a question that nobody asked!

    Go write another friggin book Rem!. At least the nuances and insights contained on the pages are funnier.I am actually waiting for your next publishing; however, not your buildings.

  • ala

    Very creative. Love it.

    That pleases some one who is tired of generic show room of vertical gypsum walls. And the space inside is simply, naturally lit, and the visual aspect of the space is the one you have never seen before. Which means original creation of the designer.

    For those of you who love his delirious new york, I find not so much value in his book although I could find so much value in his buildings. I read the book twice trying to see what is there inside. Then I began to believe that some people are just echoing what other people are saying, just like some professors do. I haven’t heard my colleagues or some professor say the delirious new york is not so much of a great book. Are we just afraid to go against the trend?

  • http://pourfolio zach

    I really liked Rem’s work at IIT in Chicago but this is simply a DISASTER. I don’t know what to think. It reminds me of a fat chick wearing something slutty. You really don’t want to look but you have to. And then you regret it…..deeply.

  • hannah

    Been inside.
    Prada waist down exhibition?
    Rem’s transformer?
    Not so nice.

    A little dirty on the inside
    badly done detailing
    nothing special
    just some rubbery material
    over structure.

    and wot…like it takes
    4 cranes and 3 weeks to

    Pls Rem next time you
    design something for Seoul
    try a little harder
    (same disappointment as the Leeum Museum)

  • CP

    I love it. It’s better than all the installation drivel that seems to go on so much these days by those claiming to be architects and which never is able to get translated into actual architecture. Bravo for actually realizing a concept and actually positing it in actual architectural parameters rather than some pretty renderings. Where has the architectural avant-garde gone? Why is the safety of the status quo so vehemently defended now? I think Archigram would be really excited by this. I know I am.

  • freddy wolf

    The world would be boring: – if we couldn’t complain.
    if everyone would have the same ideas.
    The world would be boring if everything would be alike.

  • Otro

    …probably Venturi´d love it

  • davvid

    I think this building challenges a lot of what is being digested by architectures students today. It is a very surprising and exciting design because it refuses the familiar ways of addressing obsessions with craft/material, balance, purity or tension.

  • bugzzz

    is it just me or is there not a single comment about where this frickin thing is located?

  • francis

    Yeap, fashion and architecture – may their paths never cross again, ever! zach’s statement is right on the nose and it made me chuckle too. Cheers for that. Precisely what the phat-chick said when looked in the mirror, “no fancy shapes, no wind dia……, result!”

  • francis

    Oh … and if you’ve been following the politics in the “United Kingdom”, “flipping” or “flip” is not a very popular word at the moment.

  • francis

    … and “flip” will inevitably be followed by “flop”. Ok ok, I’m outta here!!

  • Drunkmuse

    CP my dear…..” I know Archigram, Archigram “is” a good friend of mine. This disaster CP,….AIN’T NO FRIGGIN ARCHIGRAM!!”