The Waag pavilion
The Waag pavilion is a freestanding structure in a children’s playground called De Waag. The pavilion’s oval, sculptural shape emphasises its detached status. It faces omnidirectionally onto the surroundings through glass walls and doors, which alternate with piers that terminate at ground level as bench seats. The benches visually anchor the structure to the ground and the surroundings. A one-metre overhang provides sun shading and rain protection, creating a sheltered place where local residents can sit and watch their children at play. The design is an outcome of close collaboration with the neighbourhood and users.
The spatial requirements included a storage space for play equipment and a toilet, both to be accessible from outside. These are both situated on the north side of the pavilion. The multifunctional space is on the south; it functions as a playground building, a neighbourhood meeting centre and post-school childcare. The playground supervisor’s office has a view of the playground. This room and the entrance hall can also be linked to the main room for multifunctional applications.
The robust interior is finished with in-situ joinery. Struts and pencil marks remain visible beneath translucent white varnish on simple plywood panels. The interior is designed to provide a sturdy basis for user-defined applications and variations.
The most prominent exterior material is rust-brown coated aluminium which harmonizes in colour with the brickwork of other buildings in the public garden. The sculptural shape of the piers makes the pavilion autonomous as a building, on a par with the playground apparatus. The grass roof is green “fifth facade” of the pavilion, onto which the taller surrounding buildings look down.
The project entailed a so-called “total engineering” commission, in which Marlies Rohmer Architects & Urbanists engaged the engineering advisors and took responsibility for the entire project process up to and including the complete construction management and on-site supervision. The pavilion was designed as a modular structure. The prefabricated loadbearing segments, each consisting of a timber-framed structural shell with an aluminium skin, were assembled on site in a single day. A central hollow steel column containing cabling and pipes is the only other loadbearing element. This gives the pavilion a sustainable basic structure with many possibilities for internal layout.