Taking Shelter in a PETG Cocoon
AIA Pavilion 2011. Image by Gernot Riether.
One of the experiential highlights from the AIA convention in New Orleans was Gernot Riether’s AIA Pavilion, a cocoonlike enclosure located within a courtyard adjacent to an Arthur Ross–owned gallery. Riether’s 194-square-foot folly makes use of 320 triangulated, thermoformed panels of PETG, and showcases the material’s capacity to transform from a transparent thin shell to an opalescent ribbed structure.
Celebrated as a captivating format for recycled or sugar-cane-derived polymer, it isn’t clear that the pavilion actually made use of either material—particularly at the low material price of $2,500. However, the structure suggests a provocative future use for bioplastic, which will be utilized more pervasively as oil prices rise. Most of all, it demonstrates that compelling ideas may have a large impact regardless of limitations in size or budget.