The design of Pavilion for a Vacant Lot derives from Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. A temple of glass, steel and concrete, the Nationalgalerie was itself inspired by the 'Greek' designs of Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The first time I saw the Nationalgalerie I was struck by its similarity to the automobile showrooms of North America. I was later to discover of course, that Mies did indeed provide the paradigm for these structures.
Pavilion for a Vacant Lot obviously borrows heavily from the Nationalgalerie which I see as a crowning achievement and perhaps the architectural swan song of the historical modernist period. I intend my pavilion to function in a manner not unlike the neoclassical 'ruins' of the Romantic era, but as a monument to an abandoned utopia of Modernism rather than antiquity.
An allegorical architecture that will undoubtedly never be built, Pavilion for a Vacant Lot is a fiction that must exist through texts, drawings or other media. Conceived as a frame for the emptiness of a virtually denuded patch of real estate, the concrete foundation is a "square donut" the hole in the middle remaining as undisturbed ground. The coffered ceiling is open over this square of ground as well, thus the elements are free to act on and within this structure of steel, glass and concrete. Rain, sunlight and wind can enter through the four large doorways as well as through the open square in the roof. Shelter from the elements can only be found by standing within the equal portions of covered area on either side of the glass walls.
The vacant lot, like the car showroom, is a central motif of the late capitalist landscape. Such parcels of disturbed nature invariably play host to the marginalised children, teenagers, the homeless, the criminal, etc. If actually constructed, Pavilion for a Vacant Lot would undoubtedly become a magnet for such types and a stage for their activities.