2015 Pan American Games Pavilion / Manuel Gross + Patrik Staub + Stefan Vetsch + Yannick Vorberg

Courtesy Manuel Gross + Patrik Staub + Stefan Vetsch + Yannick Vorberg

Manuel Gross, Patrik Staub, Stefan Vetsch and Yannick Vorberg, all recent graduates of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, have shared with us their winning entry for the AIAS/Vinyl Institute 2015 Pan American Games Awards Pavilion to be situated in Toronto, Canada. Follow after the break for a comprehensive write up and additional images of their competition entry.


Courtesy Manuel Gross + Patrik Staub + Stefan Vetsch + Yannick Vorberg

Waterfront Toronto

The Pan Am Games of 2015 in Toronto are a great opportunity, to reconnect the waterfront with the city. This is our goal because the waterfront offers a lot of qualities. First of all, it is a great place to have a rest. There is a beautiful view and the connection to the water. The waterfront is the perfect place to meet, stroll and relax.

The Pan Am Village is located at the West Don Lands, an area that is separated from the waterfront by the railways, the Gardiner Expressway and the Lake Shore Boulevard. With our Project, we bring the people back to the waterfront. The selection of the waterfront as our site is urbanisticly very sustainable – we bridge the physical and psychological barrier of the Lake Shore Boulevard, the Gardiner Expressway and the railways. The pavilion becomes a starting point for the further development of the Lower Don Lands.

Pan Am Games Award Pavilion

Courtesy Manuel Gross + Patrik Staub + Stefan Vetsch + Yannick Vorberg

Our Design is inspired by the Name of Toronto, which is derived from the Iroquois word tkaronto, meaning “place where trees stand at the water”. After a while, the meaning of tkaronot changed into “meeting place”. We really like the simple idea of a meeting place that is created through a couple of trees. The wood is an ethnic roof, which protects people from rain and sun, the wood attracts the people – our pavilion works as simply as that.

The huge roof of the pavilion creates an interesting and protecting place, where people can meet, relax or entertain themselves. The forest spreads over the site and leads the people to the water. Under the roof there are some boxes, which contain the different programs like public restrooms, ticketing and the stage with the back stage area and storage rooms. These boxes are inspired by the image of supported logs in the wood.

Use of vinyl

As a material concept, we tried to use vinyl not only as a cladding material. We developed a simple structure in which vinyl works as a supporting element in form of standard weather balloons. This structure only works with the use of vinyl and that was exactly our goal.

The form follows the function and the form became very plurivalent. People may recognize the pavilion as a forest, others may see lots of ephemeral clouds in the sky. This equivocation makes the pavilion so interesting and special.

The facade and the roof of the boxes consist of recycled PVC pipes. The pipes have different functions and are more than just a cladding. With this system we also design the furniture for the park. The Victory Soya Mills Silo is an icon of Toronto – townsfolk identify with this building. A light PVC roof creates a special room on top of it without disturbing the presence of the silo.


Courtesy Manuel Gross + Patrik Staub + Stefan Vetsch + Yannick Vorberg


The Victory Soya Mills Silos connect our site visually with the city. Projections on the silos lead the people to the site, a bar on the roof makes this icon even higher. The bar attracts people, even after the games. This sustainable intervention supports the further development of the waterfront. Pedestrians and cyclists will arrive via the Union Station. We reevaluate the underpasses of the railways with the same balloon structure as we used for the pavilion. The Cherry Street underpass connects the village with the pavilion. The Bay Street underpass leads from the Union Station to the Queens Quai, our main bike and pedestrian path. The silo works as an orientation point, “balloon trees” reevaluate the Queens Quai and make the street attractive for pedestrians and cyclists.

A good infrastructure around the site brings people from the city, but also from the wider region to our site. We plan shuttle buses, which connect the Union Station, the Pan American Pavilion and the Pan American Village.


Site Plan


Standard, vinyl based and helium filled weather balloons support a PVC PES membrane. A PVC net holds everything together. Wire ropes with a PVC coating anchor the construction to the ground. The boxes under the roof consist of a simple steel substructure. Recycled PVC pipes clad and stiffen this steel frame at the exterior. The pipes also work as a sunblind and a rain drain. A vinyl insulation with an interior PVC cladding completes the construction.



We use an economical construction for this additional program. Reusable scaffolding stairways and construction elevators bring the visitors to the top of the silo. The bar consists of a simple steel and glass construction. A PVC PES membrane filled with helium and air works as a roof. Transparent organic photovoltaic cells are printed on this membrane. They catch the sunlight and transform it into energy, which supports the bar.

Tower/Grain Elevator Section

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About this author
Cite: Hank Jarz. "2015 Pan American Games Pavilion / Manuel Gross + Patrik Staub + Stefan Vetsch + Yannick Vorberg" 05 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/124581/2015-pan-american-games-pavilion-manuel-gross-patrik-staub-stefan-vetsch-yannick-vorberg> ISSN 0719-8884

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