It's called Bruges Diptych and is a work by the architect Jon Lott, head of Para Project
The American studio Para Project helmed by the architect Jon Lott is behind this floating wooden pavilion on a canal in Bruges, Belgium. It stands as a curious and surreal reworking of a nearby 15th century house overlooking the canal.
Named Bruges Diptych, the pavilion was conceived as an events space for the 2021 Triennial in Bruges, which saw its third edition invite participants to develop reactions evoked by the word 'TraumA'. What's the connection between this fascinating floating house and the event theme? Where does Lott's idea stem from?
Jon Lott is not new to this sort of idea. An American architect, president of Para Project, co-founder and member of CLOK, and assistant professor in architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, he has received an Emerging Voices Award and an Architectural League Prize from the Architectural League of New York, and a Design Vanguard from Architectural Record, and his studio has been selected as among the 50 best architecture firms in the world for its "projects that go beyond architecture".
The pavilion Lott designed for Bruges Triennial has a timber structure constructed on 15 pontoons almost like a stilt house but without contact with the earthly world. This detachment from its adjacent context is therefore physical and material, while a dialogue is struck up with the time-honoured 15th century canal house, almost sharing a 'trauma' to be dealt with.
Taking a closer look at the pavilion, it splits into two intersecting forms generating the illusion that the assembly phase is still in progress ‒ a conceptual response to the idea of 'revealing' what is concealed behind the city's façades.
Large openings in the wall at one end of the timber structure frame the façade of the historic canal building, while small projecting volumes create accessible spaces on either side for looking out over the canal.
The exterior of the structure is partially clad with plywood panels, while the unusual features of the neighbouring canal house (such as the gabled dormer windows and other openings) have been left simply as geometric outlines.
Architect: Jon Lott, Para Project
Photography by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Para Project