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T.J. Henry, Brainport pavilion Masterproject I, June 2012 Tutor: Ir. Tom Veeger Master project Architecture, Building and Planning, Eindhoven University of Technology

Contents: Preface 2 Introduction 4 Brainport 6 Design concepts 8 Drawings & model photos Acknowledgements 22 Bibliography 24



T.J. Henry - Masterproject I Brainport pavilion: Frayed

Project Brainport became the choice for my first master project in the master Architecture, Building and Planning from the Eindhoven University of Technology. This project would involve research into the Brainport region, one of the ‘smartest’ regions in the world. This project was done at the Eindhoven University of Technology under the supervision of ir. Tom Veeger and in cooperation with diverse companies involved with Brainport. Studying on the Technical University of Eindhoven - an important part of the Brainport network - made it extra interesting to explore how one of the most important regions for the Dutch economy functions on a network based on technology, design and knowledge. Making the link to architecture by creating an icon for Brainport by means of a pavilion that has to represent what Brainport stands for, this project has many paths to explore.




T.J. Henry - Masterproject I Brainport pavilion: Frayed

The regional top-technological Brainport is an incubator for innovation and the home for companies and research institutions of world class. The Eindhoven region is the nucleus of Brainport. Most technological companies and research institutions are located within a 40 kilometer radius from Eindhoven. But, ultimately, Brainport is not determined by its exact geographical location. It is a network economy with numerous cooperation links with regional and international organisations. The design brief is to develop a pavilion, to develop a proposal for a mobile, easy to place and quick to build platform, which can serve as a pavilion, stage or exposition space for the many (cultural) events which are organised both within and outside Brabant, an icon for Brainport.01

Notes: 01.

ir. Tom Veeger, January 2011


Brainport As the design brief states, mobility and flexibility are very important for providing Brainport with a noticable, working pavilion. But first of all there has to be figured out what Brainport really is, what does it need and how we can reach this the best.


T.J. Henry - Masterproject I Brainport pavilion: Frayed


Brainport consists of multiple variable companies, representing all over the world. All located in the region of Eindhoven, still even the people living there do not know what Brainport is. As Rotterdam is clearly seen as Seaport and Amsterdam as Airport, Eindhoven seems to have trouble to gain the ‘title’ of Brainport. Explanation can be found in the products these three ports produce. Where it is obvious and definitely clear Rotterdam is a harbour and Amsterdam (Schiphol) an airport, you can not see the development in technology in Eindhoven. The products coming from Brainport are available everywhere, and even then it isn’t always seeable or touchable. To let the world get acquainted with Brainport and in this way attract more expats from all over the world, Brainport just needs a good marketing campaign. Brainport has to sell itself as a brand, representing the cooperation between the high-tech companies. The people need to get to know Brainport. A pavilion representing Brainport and supporting Brainport with all its cultural events can stimulate the branding process. Therefore the pavilion has to provide space for different events and has to have an open character to attract not only Brainport people, but everyone curious or interested. Flexibility and accessibility.

Figures: 01. Brainport logo


Design concepts

One of the first things that came in mind thinking about flexibility was a grid. Grids are used everywhere to create an underlayment for any design. It can be seen as a system to provide the same principles on different locations. Also a grid is ‘scaleless’; it can be expanded endlessly. I found inspiration in a carpet design I had seen at the graduation show of the Design Academy in the Dutch Design Week. The carpet design created chairs folded out of the flat surface. With this principle I decided to create the flexible spaces needed for one of my first pavilion designs. 02.



T.J. Henry - Masterproject I Brainport pavilion: Frayed

Stuck in the triangles, I researched grids and patterns more generally. Triangles, squares, circles, organic shapes etc. all together made it look like the possibilities were endlessly. Because of the pavilion has to work on any given location, it must not have a single orientation, or it has to be a flexible one. The square grid seemed the most suitable for this matter. Creating accessibility can be reached by limiting the borders as much as possible. Steps, doors or walls only create extra obstacles. The pavilion must function as a platform providing the space for all of the different events. It has to be open from all sides. Together with the square grid it provided some demands for the pavilion design. To avoid these borders the pavilion needs to have ‘frayed edges’. The visitor does not know when he or her is inside the pavilion, because there isn’t really an inside. Walking from outside of the pavilion towards the centre of the pavilion, the feeling of being at the pavilion grows and grows. Shattering the pavilion around the location it stands, this effect can be stronger. First you pass some furniture elements, then you reach the edge of the accessible platform (but you still don’t have a roof above your head), a bit further you will have a roof above your head and finally you reach the core of the pavilion where it exploits its function in the way of an exposition or just serving drinks. 04.

Figures: 02. carpet design at DDW 03. sketches of one of the first designs 04. experimental models 05.

05. concept sketch


In the design process there are a few elements which come forward as conditions for the Brainport pavilion design. First of all, the branding of Brainport. People need to get to know Brainport. Second, the pavilion has to be able to adapt to any given situation and location. The pavilion has no orientation and the edges need to be frayed to spread out to the environment. Third, flexibility has to be provided by using a grid as underlayment for various functions. The accessibility is obtained by avoiding borders, and by creating a platform which is open from all sides. Thus, the key words in the branding process of Brainport are adaptability, flexibility and accessibility. Adaptability The appreciation of a pavilion is not only determined by the quality of the pavilion, but especially by the location of the pavilion in an urban area or landscape. Because the Brainport pavilion needs to be mobile, it has to be adaptable. A mobile pavilion has to adapt to any environment and situation. Once set, the pavilion becomes part of the situation. Finally, the users adapt to this new situation with the pavilion in it. So, the adaptability is mainly focused on the environment and situation. In the concept picture below the adaptability of the pavilion is explained. When a square or park has limits, or the choice is made to give the pavilion some orientation, the furniture elements can be rearranged following the wishes of the specific location. After this process, the pavilion suits perfectly to the environment.

pavilion adaptable outline 06.


The furniture elements which provide the adaptability of the pavilion are shaped according to the grid. It looks like each element has its own unique position, but less is true. The grid seems randomly developed from skewed lines crossing each other, but there is a sort of system in the grid, the thing that grids provide with flexibility. The reason for the skewed lines is to create a more spreaded orientation into the direct environment. With the use of orthogonal lines, it may look like the square has two (or four) directions. This had to be avoided as much as possible. The skewed lines therefore create multiple directions with more complex crossing points. The system in the grid is that all the lines creating the grid are skewed either one degree, or three. This way four options appear for the grid, growing in the environment: two degrees divergent, two degrees convergent, four degrees divergent or four degrees convergent. With this idea the elements on the square can be placed anywhere, still following the grid.


Figures: 06. adaptability concept 07. 1º / 3º Grid

Flexibility The flexibility is more about the functions, where the adaptability is more about the environment and situation. The idea of branding Brainport is to introduce Brainport to everyone, not only ‘Brainport-people’. Therefore the main function of the pavilion is kept as general as possible: meeting eachother in a Brainport environment, just having a drink together. When sitting in or walking in between the pavilion you wonder why the pavilion and the elements around it are even there, and the answer of that question contains the term Brainport. Of course the pavilion can be used for Brainport purposes. Setting it up as an expo, or just an empty stage to give lectures or small concerts, the grid is that flexible that together with the furniture you can create many variations, according to the wishes of the purpose of the pavilion.


Accessibility Because Brainport needs a good ‘marketing campaign’, it is important it is accessible for everyone interested or curious. One of the first design decisions was to create an open pavilion, open from all sides. Borders must be avoided to create an accessible pavilion. This can be done with a really graduate transition between outside and inside. You just don’t know when you are inside. Like the sketch beneath suggests, there are a few areas to be distinguished. First of all, you have nothing. Then you accidentally pass some furniture elements and are already participating ‘in’ the pavilion. Reaching the edge of the pavilion, the platform is as low as possible to make entering it as easy as possible. Also this platform offers sitting places on the edge, which creates a direct link to the sitting elements all over the location. Moving further into the pavilion you will gradually get a roof over your head, before reaching the core of the pavilion where the expo is situated or you can order your drink. An ideal situation thus has an accessible platform with a roof above to give it some volume. The roof can serve as an attractor by being sculptural or drawing attention with high-tech lighting during the evening. Conclusion from this is that the structure in between, to carry the roof, should be as light as possible. The grid can be projected on the platform, and can be extruded to a roof volume. By making holes in the roof and giving them height, it gets a sculptural effect and will playfully interact with daylight during different times on the day. The ‘boxes’ which will follow from the extruding idea, can be used for integrating lighting in the pavilion.





Figures: 08. sketch: accessibility sequence 09. sketch: impression roof sculpture 10. sketches: grid on platform and sunlight effect


Drawings & model photos Figures: 11. situation 1:1000 / markt Eindhoven 12 t/m 15. model photos 16. floor plan 1:200 17. roof plan 1:200






+ 450mm


+ 450mm

kitchen unit

view 2

+ 2500mm



+ 1000mm



+ 450mm

view 1

view 2




view 1



+ 5000 + 4400

+ 400

+ 200

Section AA’


View 1 19. View 1

View 2 View20. 2

Figures: 18. section aa 1:200 19. view 1 1:200 20. view 2 1:200 21 t/m 23. model photos





Acknowledge ments


T.J. Henry - Masterproject I Brainport pavilion: Frayed

This project consisted of many different phases with various subjects subjected to analysis. The broad setup of the project and the deep investigation into the world of Brainport made us get to know multiple sides of Brainport, from which we could choose one to focus our design on. Workshops, interviews, analyses and field research formed the input for the various designs from our studio. My gratitude therefore goes to ir. Tom Veeger for organizing these helpful learning sessions, along with exposition possibilities and even the possibility to continue the Brainport pavilion project with the help of Brainport Development. Also my thanks go to my fellow students for the multiple discussions and cooperation along the way.




T.J. Henry - Masterproject I Brainport pavilion: Frayed

Literature / sources: Brakel Atmos, various profile systems, May 2011 Solarlux, detail sections glass canopies, May 2011 Interview Wim Renders, Brainport Development, June 2011 Lecture ir. Gijs Wallis de Vries about Iconstructivism, March 2011 and including daughter websites El Croquis 123 Toyo Ito 2001-2005, p. 174-181 Detail 09 - 2002 p. 1028-1029 Notes: 01.

ir. Tom Veeger, January 2011

Figures: 01. 02. Unknown, carpet design at Dutch Design Week 2010 03. - 23. Thomas Henry, January 2011 - June 2011 Inspired by: Toyo Ito, Serpentine Gallery 2002 Brainport Links: Cover: Thomas Henry, Eindhoven on Š Google Maps + logo Brainport


Brainport pavilion  

Report of first master project, part of the master Architecture, Building and Planning from the Eindhoven University of Technology.

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