bam! Wins YAP MAXXI 2013

Courtesy of MAXXI

With an intention to attract and impress viewers with his massive scale, He has been selected as winner of the 2013 Young Architects Program (YAP) MAXXI in Rome, an annual competition that promotes and supports young and emerging architects in collaboration with MAXXI Architettura, /MoMA PS1 of New York, Constructo of Santiago and, for the first time, Istanbul Modern, Turkey.

Turin-based studio bam! bottega di architettura sostenibile, designed He as a grandiose and buoyant installation that transforms the concrete MAXXI facade and expansive piazza into a visual spectacular, while offering a shady escape from the Summer heat.

Courtesy of

Opening in June, the helium-filled balloon will rise above the piazza casting a mesmerizing, yellow shadow on the grass and a surrounding wooden platform, forming a structureless place for rest, recreation and relaxation. During the day, water will drip from the translucent aerostatic prism, ideally delimiting the space beneath the volume and creating a refreshing curtain for the public. As night falls, the water will be replaced by light, lifting the plastic aerostat up to the height of the museum and transforming it into a lantern suspended in the sky.

Courtesy of MAXXI

Large dimensions and lightness, innovation and flexibility, transparency and sustainability are the key features of He which, at the end of the summer, will be deflated with the helium being recovered for use in scientific and medical research.

Courtesy of MAXXI

“I believe that this year’s YAP MAXXI winning project’s strength lies in a well-judged synthesis of poetry and technology,” stated director of MAXXI Architettura Margherita Guccione. “bam! studio’s project perfectly encapsulates the three essential qualities of the YAP program,” stated senior curator Pippo Ciorra. “The valorization of the public space in an unusual and sustainable fashion, as is the case at the other sites around the world, the tackling of the museum architecture “head on” and the courageous exploration of the crucial theme of powerful yet construction-free architecture.”

Courtesy of MAXXI

He will be inaugurated in Rome on the same day as CODA’s Party Wall in New York on June 20, 2013.

Project Title: He, SensitiveSize
Architect: bam! bottega di architettura sostenibile 
Team Members: Alberto Bottero; Valeria Bruni, Simona Della Rocca, Fabio Vignolo
Plastic by: FaberSum, Torino (Andrea Patrucco, Enrico Ferro)

Compare He to UNIRE/UNITE - last year’s winning design from YAP MAXXI.

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "bam! Wins YAP MAXXI 2013" 05 Feb 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=328140>

5 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    sustainable? Helium is one of the rarest elements on earth and they are just going to fill a temporary pavilion with it?

    ‘Helium must be extracted from natural gas because it is present in air at only a fraction of that of neon, yet the demand for it is far higher. It is estimated that if all neon production were retooled to save helium, that 0.1% of the world’s helium demands would be satisfied.’ (wikipedia)

    Really shouldn’t be surprised I guess…

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Helium will be recycled in scientific research: “transparency and sustainability are the key features of He which, at the end of the summer, will be deflated with the helium being recovered for use in scientific and medical research.”

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Helium will be recycled in scientific research: “Transparency and sustainability are the key features of He which, at the end of the summer, will be deflated with the helium being recovered for use in scientific and medical research”

    • Thumb up Thumb down +2

      I understand what the article says, just doubt that it will happen as they envision. All helium balloons eventually lose their lift due to material decomposition. ‘Helium gas once decompressed from a cylinder degenerates at a rate of 3% a day minimum, depending on the metereological conditions.’ (AIR Products Helium Data Sheet)

      I suspect that the floating pavilion will have to be refilled several times before the summer is out. On top of that, ‘recycling’ helium is not exactly a simple process – try reading about it.

      Nice project as a fantasy, I just think it’s very naive to believe it is sustainable.

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