The architecture of the Atelier Bow Wow’s BMW Guggenheim Lab was that of a public street. By floating the support infrastructure of the multiform program space above, zones of defined and implied programing were carefully calibrated on the ground plane. This strategy left the empty lot’s parti walls visible and unadorned. Their texture became part of the visual identity of the space. The cutting-edge carbon fiber structure above was designed for utility and drama. This was achieved by simultaneously amplifying the reading of the structure as a volume and clearly defining the volume of program space below.
The project deployed an aesthetic of contrast over self-similarity. The result was an exquisite palimpsest of the ground plane, texture of the parti walls, newness, elegance, and innovation above. The project was a stage for adaptability and flexibility. It was a rare example of delicate yet legible spatial articulation, hi-tec and low-tec utility, and a direct civic spatial gesture — the architecture framed its content from the street and framed the street looking out. The space of the street was allowed to pass directly through these frames and into the pavilion, modulated by furniture, curtains, and other programming elements.