Mobile Performance Venue / Various Architects

Various Architects is a collaborative design office based in Norway, and they shared with us a very innovative project: a Mobile Performance Venue. Designed to host the performance “ID – Identity of the soul” (touring worldwide in 2009), the client requested a unique and iconic structure. Also, this venue needs to be mobile, so volume/weight were key on this design developed as a flexible ellipse structured with aluminium frames and an inflatable hexagonal skin.

Once built, it will be the world´s largest mobile performance venue, fitting on 30 standard containers for shipping.

Can´t wait till 2009 to see it? Be sure to check the test inflation of a full scale mock-up, a preview of how it will look like when finished. Below, project description, plans and renderings. Thanks to Jim Dodson from VA for sending this in.

The MPV is a dynamically twisting 90 x 60 meter ellipse (3900 m2) with curving walls and roof that ranges from 11 to 17 meters in height. The project is designed around five large screens of the central performance space (2000 m2) which holds a standing audience of 3500 people. This calm and reflective central core is designed to optimize the viewing experience of the performances and to contrast with the bold and exciting inflatable exterior skin.

A dynamic public foyer formed by an arcade of open hexagons at ground level clearly marks the entrance in the otherwise closed form. The foyer contains all front-of-house functions such as ticketing, security, cloak room, refreshments, and restrooms. A mezzanine area accessible via internal stairs can be used as a lounge, catering space, exhibition space or VIP events. For back-of-house areas the skin has a more complex and closed appearance which protects equipment and hides backstage areas from view.

Together with engineers from Ramboll-Whitbybird, VA have designed the structure to reduce shipping weight and volume to a minimum using a unique inflatable skin, a lightweight cable roof, and a combination of standard and bespoke aluminum structural frames. The outer skin is a self-supporting membrane of hexagonal inflated tubes and translucent cushions. This 100% recyclable PVC structure requires a minimum of secondary wind bracing. A six meter tall ring beam truss with central tension ring spans 70 x 36 meters to provide a column free roof for the performance space. The truss works much like a bicycle wheel and provides lateral stability for the project. Two interchangeable roof coverings help adapt the building to different climates and weather – a mesh roof to provide shade in hot dry climates, and a solid PVC roof for rain protection. Columns of standard tubular aluminum staging components support the roof truss and distribute loads to the adjustable flooring system which levels out uneven sites. The floor can also be configured with a central stage for live concerts and/or auditorium seating. Speaker racks suspended from the columns and refillable water tanks provide foundations without the need for anchoring or the transport of heavy weights. The modular structure can be configured in several sizes ranging from 1500 to 3900m2.

Mobile Performance Venue / Various Architects - More Images+ 23

The venue can be deflated and divided into stackable components that fill 30 standard 40’ shipping containers. Installation and assembly on site will require two weeks for the entire venue (one week and only 20 containers if the roof is omitted). This estimate is conservative, but still represents an extremely low shipping volume and rapid deployment time for an installation of this size and complexity.

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Cite: David Basulto. "Mobile Performance Venue / Various Architects" 29 Jul 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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