The pavilion, designed by Aurélie Kasisi and Anouk Dandrieu, reflects Charlie Hebdo’s spirit: it challenges convention by opposing itself to the traditional exhibition format.
Aurélie Monet Kasisi and Anouk Dandrieu, architects of EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), win the first prize of an architecture vision competition, organized by Bree Beeders, with their Pavillon dedicated to Charlie Hebdo. The project will not be realized but it seeks to bring contemporary issues to the public arena.
“I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees” (Emiliano Zapata, quoted by Charlie Hebdo in September 2012, few days after publishing the controversial cartoons of Prophet Muhammad): the focus of Aurélie Kasisi and Anouk Dandrieu project was to convey to the public sphere the essence of freedom of expression. They realised their aim merely showcasing the manifestation of this fundamental right through an ephemeral and open medium: the Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion. The Pavilion, in fact, celebrates the satirical magazine by encouraging the public to carry on the fight for freedom of speech to which the caricaturists committed to.
The exhibition concept refers to Charlie Hebdo’s free and irreverent spirit. Indeed, it challenges convention by opposing itself to the traditional contemplative exhibition format: the artworks are not carefully shielded under cloches, but rather freely created by the visitors, thereby engaging them actively instead of turning them into passive consumers.
The portable pavilion does not claim to be the only authoritative reality but is open to interpretation, adaptation and spontaneity. It offers a highly democratic and participative experience, which clearly positions itself against totalitarianism and censorship. It thus becomes a strong symbolic object in the city by advocating social and political ideals to strive for.
The project consists of a collection of autonomous spatial elements, each of them enabling a collective experience within the city. The exhibition area is composed of large easel-like panels juxtaposed one to another to form a grid that makes the pavilion wide, open, fluid, and permeable. Scattered inside the exhibition area are the performance space, the memorial, the reception, the conference room and the cafe, which become small public infrastructures capable of hosting formally arranged events as well as permitting informal life to unfold.
The entire pavilion is made of square timbers connected simply through an overlapping joint system. The lightness and modularity of these structures both result in entirely demountable and transportable objects that can be placed in any available space within the urban fabric. The pavilion has thus the potential to transform generic public spaces of any cities into a destination that shapes the memories of its inhabitants.
Charlie Hebdo Portable Pavilion, winner of Bee Breeders Architecture Competition Typology: vision architecture Architects:Aurélie Monet Kasisi and Anouk Dandrieu