The black box was a temporary pavilion next to the school of architecture at TU Delft. Won as a competition, the pavilion was used to hold events and workshops when in use, and blend into the natural surroundings when not, blurring the man-made and the natural.
The BlackBox came about through a competition held at the TU Delft school of architecture. The team’s entry won the concept design competition, and the project was subsequently developed to be constructed next to the school.
Looking at the campus environment of brutalist concrete boxes, the team wasn’t interested in simply adding to that type of built fabric, but wanted to create something which balanced out the natural and the man-made.
Site & Relationships
The team sought opportunities which included natural elements all around the site, one of which was a neglected water source. The idea was formed to create a symbiotic relationship between the building and the natural by using the water to water a living facade, and in doing so the facade would filter the water in the pond.
At the time, living facade systems were not commonplace in architecture, and so the team developed and tested mock-ups of their own systems in their dormitory rooms.
The facade was planted using different types of plants to create a living surface which changed its image according to the seasons.
The box was intended to close up and blend into its surroundings when not in use, and open up the large living door to the exterior when hosting functions. The interior space was designed to be completely flexible to host various different activities.
A large portion of the construction was prefabricated off-site using timber for the structure and walls, before being covered in the living wall. The team insisted on using timber, as the only truly renewable building resource.
End of Life & Publication
The life cycle of the pavilion came to an end after a fire accident, but the memory is retained through the numerous publications covering the pavilion. The publication of the pavilion made Martijn the youngest ever designer to be featured in the prestigious A+U Magazine at the age of 19.
Team: Martijn de Geus, Philip Mannaerts and collaborators
Supervision by: Ulrich Knaack, Herman Prast, Luning Engineers
Client: Stylos, TU Delft
Project Year: 2009
Location: Delft, Netherlands