ALA Architects has proposed to plant a Magnolia tree for Tampere. An intelligent glass dome will provide this tree with a more southern climate, complete with ventilation, shading and lighting. The air exhaust of the parking garage will provide additional heating during the cold, dark months. This dome will have its own microclimate fine-tuned using the technical abilities provided by its glazed surface. The Magnolia will be nurtured to burst into a magnificent bright pink blossom by the first of May annually. Its strong perfumed scent will fill the pavilion, on some spring days the scent might even flow down to the parking garage.
Architecturally, the project uses the most obvious and simple qualities of glass. Transparency is used for giving the Magnolia tree sunlight, reflections dissolve the dome into the surrounding foliage and refractions magnify the bright pink blossoms of the Magnolia onto the full undulating dome. These spherically extruded surfaces create a variety of illusions, whilst relating to the traditions of sand, soda and chalk melted down and blown into fantastic shapes.
The pavilion houses an information kiosk as suggested by the organizer of the competition. There will be a large LED screen on the concrete wall of the staircase structure displaying necessary information.
The glass is melted into shape by gravitation. The flat pane is placed on a simple triangular frame and melted into its distinctive spherical, double curved shape. Each pane has a maximum dimension of 2600mm to fit into an autoclave for laminating. Chemical hardening is not considered necessary for public safety here. The structural steel frame is a domed form consisting of straight t-shaped profiles which are braced through the tree with steel wires. This bracing allows for a much thinner steel structure overall.
Many of the triangular units have distinctive functions. Six of the glass units at the top of the dome open up to let hot air ventilate out. Some of the higher units will have integrated LED lights to provide the tree with additional lighting to shorten the long winter nights. The most southern units of the top of the dome can have electrochromic switchable coating for additional shading if necessary. Four panes on the south eastern side of the pavilion will have steel grilles in place of the glazing creating the 20 square meter exhaust air vent. The thickness of the glass should be adjusted to allow for melting the snow with the heat provided by the heat exchange system of the garage exhaust air, but still have sufficient thickness to create the climate a Magnolia tree needs. A sprinkler system will be planted into the soil for watering the tree with an appropriate mist.
A water basin collects the rainwater off the self cleaning glass surfaces of the pavilion. This water is filtered and pumped to the Magnolia tree above. The edge of the basin also creates a boundary to protect against snow plowing.
With its organic form and movement, the tree will contrast beautifully with the geometric glass structures that envelope it. The Magnolia tree will give a soft image for this square at the centre of industrial Tampere.