Piergloux (2020)


  • Project: Piergloux
  • Building Type: Park Pavilion
  • Designer: Emem Essien
  • Clients: All Grange Park visitors
  • Location: Grange Rd (off McCaul St), Toronto
  • Area: 200 sq. ft.
  • Requirement: Small architectural structure with three spaces for sitting, standing, and walking through that provides an experience to convey a narrative
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sketchup
  • Project Year: 2020

A Pavilion of Reflection

To begin with, a lot of thought and helpful research was put into arriving at the name of my pavilion which is Piergloux. I would start by stating the underlying concept relates to my thesis which is reflection. A fitting metaphor for reflection is a mirror because it reflects lights without absorbing it. When I thought of mirrors, what came to my mind was a certain type known as a pier-glass which is a large mirror that fills up wall space between windows. Likewise, my composition would be filling up the "landscape" as a pavilion with reflective properties on the outside where passers-by could stop and stare at the building - and themselves - and want to experience what it's like on the inside. My site of interest is Grange Park due to its flat land; thus, the pavilion would be within the park for people to have a unique, interactive experience on the outside and inside.

To achieve a cohesive, interactive, and "reflective" pavilion, I applied a pixelated effect with openings to my roof with multiple skylights. I also aimed for a dramatic entrance and exit to my pavilion, and contemporary use of bricks to my pavilion’s exterior and interior spaces. The pavilion's interior spaces feature sinuous curves clad in wood. Lastly, I added built-in furniture elements to unite multiple zones, creating a series of “pods” recessed into the wall as oversized niches versatile enough for visitors to sit on, lie in, and have views of the outside while embracing the unique interior space. The pods leave a more seamless architectural presence with ample room to stand and walk around in the space. The result is a structure whose form resembles an igloo's, which is how I arrived at the name, Piergloux. The structure dips at the entrance, giving visitors a slow release as they enter the pavilion and immerse themselves in the space. With reflection as my concept, it makes sense to still use openings as my focal architectural element, which explains the skylights for the pixelated effect, the dramatic multiple openings at the entrance and exit, as well as oversized niches into the walls to serve as furniture and windows. In terms of materiality, I used only two materials to represent reflection in different ways: light-coloured plywood reflecting sound and light serving as acoustics and interior cladding, and reflective bricks reflecting light as exterior cladding. The pavilion’s roof smoothly transitions into walls to form a dynamic cross-section. Because I wanted the pavilion to appear more sculptural overall than structural, the curvilinear walls bloom out the entrance and exit openings and suck in the middle, where the interior spaces are. This replaces the need for columns as the walls go in and out to allude to the slow release as one enters the pavilion and leaves, thereby not compromising on stability, functionality, and aesthetics.

Overall, one of Piergloux’s strengths is its interactive sequence of spaces. From first sight and entrance all the way to exit, the pavilion keeps visitors’ excitement which otherwise, would not be possible with a singular experience. By choreographing a slow release into an open plan, Piergloux aims to give visitors a progressional, multidimensional experience to give them an incentive to want to visit and revisit the building and even stay longer.

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Process Work

Rough Work Imagery

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Key Diagrams


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Physical Model

At Day

Roof View

Open Floor Plan

Main Entrance

West View

At Night

Roof View

Aerial View facing Entrance

Main Entrance

Rear Entrance

Using Format