ZH Architects were awarded 2006 AIA NY Design Awards citation for this project.
The ArtBox design arose as a response to a competition brief requiring a cheap, durable, easily-constructed multifunctional performance space. This, combined with the theoretical challenge of designing a pavilion without the starting point of a physical site, lead instead to a focus on the material used.
Cardboard was chosen for its cheap, lightweight and recyclable characteristics. An overview of contemporary cardboard structures lead to the conclusion that the aesthetic and spatial possibilities of the material were not being fully exploited; the project was also treated as an experiment in sustainability by incorporating as much cardboard as possible.
Folded cardboard sheets form the basic triangular column unit of the structure, sized to allow ease of handling and assembly; its profile is used to create a distinctive aesthetic exterior effect through sharp alternation of light and shadow. This is chosen in contrast to the typical mode in cardboard structures of tubular columns or of laminated cardboard panels, which we believed had been previously explored. The columns are arranged in an inner, load-bearing layer, and a non-structural external layer, which provides for weatherproofing and acoustic protection. This focus allowed 80% of the volume of building material to be made from recyclable sources.