Bubble: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden by Siller Scofidio + Renfro

The ‘Bubble’ is an inflatable conceived Siller Scofidio + Renfro architects is an event space planned for the cylindrical courtyard of the Hirshhorn Museum. In respectful dialogue with the Modernist icon originally designed by Gordon Bunshaft in 1974, the Bubble is an architecture of air; a pneumatic structure enclosed only by a translucent membrane that sneezes into the void of the building and oozes out of the top and beneath its mass.

In contrast to the familiar strategy of roofing over courtyards of institutional buildings.The Bubble produces a soft building inside of a hard one in which existing and new spaces, both interior and exterior are playfully intertwined. The ephemeral structure is erected once a year for two months. The additional 11 000 sf of sheltered space accommodates audiences of 500-800 for array of public events including performing arts, lectures, and debates. Its form is shaped by a series of cable rings that constrict the membrane, pulling it away from the inner wall of the courtyard while other cables tether it into place. The resulting contours act acoustically and produce changing shafts and pockets of outdoor space experienced from the ground and the galleries on the second and third level.

Peary Place, London by Threefold Architects

Completed in 2004, The Studio in Bethnal Green is an inventive conversion of an existing Victorian workshop into a contemporary living space. The tall, thin, dark sliver of a space was formerly an industrial shed wedged between existing buildings at ground floor level with windows on all sides at high level. The whole structure was separated from the street by a narrow courtyard passageway.

Threefold Architects’ challenge was to inventively reconfigure the internal layout to maximise natural light and space and stretch a limited budget to create a modern and innovative domestic space.


The response was a six metre high glazed slot and double height entrance hall opening onto a private courtyard to draw as much daylight as possible into the internal spaces. A central spine wall separates an open floating plywood stair on one side and the passage to the snug bedroom and bathroom on the other. At first floor level open plan living, dining and kitchen spaces merge seamlessly into one another, unified by a nine metre run of storage units, which cantilever over the double height entrance. White painted walls allow the constantly shifting light conditions outside the building to dictate the mood of the space and the original distressed dark timber floor has been retained as a nod to the building’s industrial history.