Bloom Logo

Kinetic Pavilion + Sculpture

Bloom is a childhood fort for adults that transforms from a seemingly rigid sculpture into a delightful semi-private space within the public environment. Motivated by our desire to create a playful object for children and adults alike, we created an interactive human-scale toy based on Chuck Hoberman’s wheel.

Our interactive pavilion blooms open like a budding tulip from plan view and can be operated by a single visitor. The wooden construction achieves a toy-like appearance as well as an organic texture that resonates with the foliage and nature at the site. The contrasting laced awning provides visual privacy and creates an exclusive hideaway where friends and families can share intimate moments with one another.

My role I was responsible for integrating structural engineering concepts with the aesthetics with the architects on the team. The smooth rotation is realized by the hollow and lightweight construction of linkages, which are supported by the solid top and bottom structures coupled with the robust joint assemblies. Each component took several iterations to achieve the clean and organic appearance.

GSD6476 Transformable Design Methods | 2013
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Instructor: Chuck Hoberman

Collaborators Ling-Li Tseng, Wendy Engler, Fernando Rodríguez

Awards + ExhibitionFeatured in designboom
Published in GSD Platform 7
Awarded MIT Art Council Grant
Won competition for Harvard Yard Art Festival

Geometric Logic: Evolution from the Hoberman Wheel

The wheel follows the simple geometric relationship between the linkage and joint system: as long as the joint positions are maintained equidistant to one another in the horizontal direction, the linkages can freely be designed.

Hollow Construction Method

The assembled shape of the linkages is inspired by animal vertebrate that provide maximum strength with minimum material. The linkage parts are cut with CNC router and then assembled as if making a guitar. The short horizontal pieces inside the hollow construction act like I-beams to provide additional support to withstand bending in the lateral direction. The contrast of the lightweight linkages and robust joint assembly accomplishes smooth opening by one person.

Structural Concept

While the linkages are lightweight, the top and bottom supports need to be structurally robust to support these linkages’ weight as well as to ensure that their joint positions are maintained during rotation.

Solid 1.5 inch plywood arms are press-fitted and bolted to the disk to reduce lateral and vertical moments at joint connection at the far end of each arm. This design does not require extra braces and emphasizes the vertical continuity of the linkages.

All Components before Assembly

Fabrication and Assembly Processes

Bloom Opens Like a Budding Tulip

The tab on the bottom platform is a visual signage for user interaction as well as to indicate that it is where it locks with the handle.

Public Installation at at Harvard Yard Art Festival

*Documents our design process and findings