Dance Pavilion

Dance Pavilion

Various Architects
Geneva, Switzerland | View Map
Project Year



Un monde dans un monde

Various Architects as Architects

Much like "a story within a story" our aim is to create a "world within a world", separated from the hustling and bustling of every day life. Visitors and performers are invited into a calm and playful, sheltered space designed to stimulate their senses and release creativity. Different programs are nested within each other, creating shells that unfolds and leads the body through different spatial experiences.

Dance is here understood as moments of movement in time, and our aim has been to make visitors a part of this motion. By layering the spaces where screens and openings overlap we intend to blur the boundaries between visitors and dancers, making our visitors part of the performance taking place. Visitors are lead through an enclosed exterior garden, through a slender pathway, into a wide foyer before entering an intimate performance space in the heart of the pavilion.

Our Aim

In our design we have focused on creating a unique atmosphere, uninterrupted by the outside world. This is achieved by a system of layers, making the outer wall an important feature of our design. The idea of a world inside a world, is for the benefit of creating a stimulating environment for artists and the public to meet, dance and be creative while exposing the Contemporary Dance Association (ADC) in a beautiful and interesting way.

We have focused on creating an integrated, sustainable and flexible design, by finding cost effective and practical design solutions. The impact of the project on site has been minimized and the existing vegetation integrated into our design. The project contributes a great deal to the existing city fabric by creating an integrated public space which can be used as a public garden (park), sheltered from the hard traffic of the two main roads, surrounding the site. The lush garden could be a permanent installment for the area, adding to the cities green lungs, when the dance pavilion is relocated.

The Outer Wall While the layering of spaces allows for interesting encounters and beautiful visual effects it is also designed for it´s sound insulating properties, in the way each layer gradually diffuses sound, protecting the inner core from disturbance and noise outside. The outer wall diffuses sound and light by dispersion, allowing for a protected area inside. Glass fibre reinforced polymer rods with timber boxes produce an open structure for the wall, with the rods allowed to sway or ‘dance’ in the wind. Cantilevered out of a precast concrete strip footing at their base, the top of the rods are restrained with a cable between steel corner posts, providing deflection control and defining the form.

Transparency and patterns of the wall changes depending on perspective, revealing different areas of the interior, showing glimpses of what is going on inside. The pattern diffuses light and sound while shadows play on the ground adding to the unworldly experience. The elements moves in the wind and twists to make a dynamic rhythm as if dancing when the viewer moves, capturing movement in a cinematic effect.


To meet the requirement of the competition the five main program areas: public reception area, hall and stage, administration, technical rooms and installations have been cleverly distributed in between the three layers.

Layer 1: Includes part of the public reception area which comprises of a public garden and the main entrance. Visitors can enter the enclosed exterior garden (1) from two entry points (a) and (b). While being part of the entrance for the dance pavilion the exterior garden can also be used as a public park, where visitors can watch or take part in small events and happenings or create their own. The garden layout consists of organic paths, alluding to muscles, veins or the shadows of a branching tree, and mediating rectangular surfaces, creating a labyrinthine experience. The main surface consists of flat gravel, connecting the surface of the site with the same surface of the surrounding area. The organic tiled concrete path leads way through the spaces of the rectangular surfaces creating places for stops along the way, where you can walk on water, dance or just sit down for a cup of coffee. The path is made of precast concrete tiles which can easily be put in the ground and later moved. Mirrors in different scales, sizes and shapes creates an adventurous and fun journey through the garden, where professionals as well as visitors can have fun with dance.

Layer 2: For those interested in seeing a performance or exhibition, a slender pathway (2) leads into a wide foyer (3). Ticket counter, toilets, bar/kitchen and other installations are intelligently distributed in an open plan to facilitate easy access and provide a comfortable experience for staff and visitors. The bar/kitchen and parts of the foyer can be opened up towards the garden, creating smooth transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. A stairway leads up to the administration area, which includes 6-7 workstation in an open plan office. Extruded aluminum sheets creates patterned views towards the garden. Dressing rooms and joint room are placed on each side of the inner core. The joint room is a multi-use space for conferences, debates and workshops which is easily accessible from the foyer or the outdoor garden. The idea of layering the spaces was developed into a concept of solids and voids, the exterior wall wraps around the semi transparent volumes and patterned surfaces in the second layer, adding to the wonderland experience.

Layer 3: The hall and stage is designed to fit in a single volume. It is located in the heart of the pavilion and consists of a flexible proscenium stage, 200 seats which can easily be folded away in the back wall, allowing for different stage set arrangements, circulation space around the whole perimeter in the back and four entry points for artists and performers. The floor of the entire space is homogeneous, giving freedom and flexibility for different performances. The curtains and proscenium are removable, revealing glimpses of the performance space through a glass facade and the outer patterned wall. Visitors can enter this intimate performance space in the core of the pavilion (4) from two entry points (a) and (b). The serenity of the garden is sometimes interrupted by the walls of the performance space unfolding, -opening it up towards the garden in back. The enclosing wall becomes backdrop to the stage, unravelling the world inside to the outside world.

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Project Credits
House in Oyamadai
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House in Oyamadai

Private Houses
Tokyo, Japan - Build completed in 2015
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