Proposal for the Azores International Fair, done on the occasion of the exhibition L’Atalante at the Academia das Artes dos Açores, Ponta Delgada, Portugal [31.06.05–31.08.05).
Design team: marcosandmarjan;
Collaboration: João Albuquerque, Marco Sacchi, Shui Liu
Exhibition halls/food and beverage 7995 m2
Shipping areas/storage 1498 m2
Administration/spaces for new enterprises 2755 m2
External circulation area 2530 m2
External exhibition area 8350 m2
The Azores International Fair belongs to the Ponta Delgada Industrial Park on the Azores Islands, hosting a variety of programmes that can be used twenty-four hours a day. It is proposed to incorporate three large exhibition halls for small and medium-sized fairs, with a vast external exhibition surface, food and beverage areas, and spaces for new enterprises, as well as the administration of the whole Industrial Park.
Programme specificities offered the opportunity to colonise an area that in this type of building is usually left uninhabited: the roof. Following an idea previously explored in marcosandmarjan’s NEB project (2001), the FIA is the result of an intrinsic dialectic between the existing natural landscape and the proposed artificial roofscape. While the exhibition areas are excavated in order to create a large crater (in a volcanic island where craters are pervasive topographic formations in the landscape) the rest of the programme is embedded in a series of Inhabitable Roof Trusses. A public circulation network connects the fair with its context in three distinct levels while crossing the whole building.
On the east side, at the highest point, access is established from a nearby private car park to a variety of spaces (for new enterprises) that are located in the roof. On the west side, at the intermediate level, the main entrance is placed still within the roof structure, allowing direct access from the main public parking area, and simultaneously access to the restaurants and cafeterias inside. This floor creates a mezzanine from where the whole infrastructure can be visualised by visitors before becoming submerged in the exhibition halls on the lower ground. Here there are also three large spaces that can be used independently or as one, potentially extended to the exterior through the south façade.
The proposed inhabitable roof creates an artificial topography over the massive exhibition areas. Due to their sheer size, the structure that is required to bridge such extensive spans halls on the lower ground. Here there are also three large spaces that can be used independently or as one, potentially extended to the exterior through the south façade.
The proposed inhabitable roof creates an artificial topography over the massive exhibition areas. Due to their sheer size, the structure that is required to bridge such extensive spans generates very large trusses, which in turn are perfect to host a variety of programme in them. Like a spaceship, the Inhabitable Roof Trusses hover over the ground, seeming just to touch it via a few ramps, escalators, and the main entrance floor. At night, when there are often no activities in the halls, the Inhabitable Roof, still in use, is lightened-up, glowing like a self-contained, yet permeable disk that just landed on the site. Similar to the NEB project, inhabitation means here the concentration of activities in certain areas, leaving others rather unoccupied. There is an implicit tension in the building’s flesh, which arises from a polarisation between positive and negative, mass and void, bodily engagement and disengagement, tactile exploration and visual contemplation.