TERRA FIRMA is a rectangular pavilion that, upon approach, appears to be a massive block of earth, lifted from its surroundings in a rare feat of seismology. It appears massive, but it is impossibly thin; it appears solid, but is empty. In actuality, it is a structure that folds in on itself, expressing the deceptive thinness of its walls.

The pavilion is comprised of eight planes. Each is 1 1/2” thick, a mixture of soil from the site and polyester resin, which acts as a binding agent and gives structural integrity to the soil. Solid steel bars reinforce the central axis of the long spans from overturning and longitudinal deflection. A steel base plate and concrete footing anchor the entire structure, and are hidden from view.

Moving through and upon reaching the rear of the TERRA FIRMA pavilion, a portal becomes visible, upending the notion of the folly as solid and revealing the structure’s capacity. A light emerges from the end of the passageway, implying the space within, while the roof of the passageway grants the first indication of the deceptively thin construction. The form is spare, filled only with the life of its occupants.

Client: Moran Museum of Art (South Korea)

Program: Cultural, Pavilion

Status: Complete

Size: 360 SF

Location: Namyangju, South Korea

Architect: KM,A (Kyle May) and Dillon Wilson

Images: KM,A