Tokyo-based architecture studio Nonscale Co designed the Sky Pavilion for a lawn in the Museum Gardens, a park neighboring the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The studio won the annual Triumph Pavilion competition by ArchTriumph to highlight the work of an individual architect or design team. This year, applicants were asked to investigate how the sky changes the perception of architectural structures. Nonscale’s winning entry was a giant sundial that takes the form of a collection of “twinkling” stars on a mirrored platform. This London pavilion, designed to resemble a smattering of stars, casts reflections on a mirrored plate to operate like a giant sundial.
The pavilion is constructed from 17 twinkling stars, which point towards the North Star. The entire symbolic pavilion functions as a sundial. The architects designed the pavilion as a sundial, because they wanted to give the visitors a strong connection between the sky and the site, not only from its geometry, but, also from its function. People will experience and feel how we used to indicate time from the sky when there was less technology, and [when there was more] importance of astrology on our daily living.
Elongated spines that splay from the center of the stars are designed as gnomons – the triangular blade used to cast a shadow on the base of a sundial and indicate the time. The structure is pinned to a series of interlocking circular mirrors marked with radiating lines. As the position of the sun changes throughout the day, the reflections move across the markings to indicate the time. On each sundial platform, there are gnomons attached to the star units that point towards the North Star. These seven gnomons create shadows on the platform indicating the time from the sky.
In all, 17 small and large laser-cut stars join to form the structure, which is supported by a solid steel core and anchored to the ground. The four-metre-tall structure is made from a stainless steel composite and weighs over 2,000 kilograms. Colored floodlights illuminate the Sky Pavilion after dark when it can no longer operate as a sundial.