Architectural firm formlessfinder created Tent Pile, a temporary structure supported by a pile of sand, for Design Miami/, an art and architecture fair held from December 4-8. The structure was designed to provide shade, seating, cool air, and a space for the public to play.
Formlessfinder was founded in 2010 by Julian Rose and Garrett Ricciardi. The architects focus on the geography of the region where their designs will be built and take that into consideration when creating their designs. They use locally available materials in such a way that they can be reused after being employed in their temporary structures.
Rose and Ricciardi considered two important characteristics of Miami in designing Tent Pile. They decided to use the sand that was everywhere, both on beaches and under buildings, to create stability in the temporary structure. Its looseness gave them flexibility in building their project, and the appearance of the sand fit in well with the surrounding landscape. They were also interested in the combination of post-war modernist architecture with the tropical climate, which combined to give rise to shelters with roofs but no walls, providing protection from the elements and access for all.
Instead of using a foundation, the architects used a pile of loose sand as a ballast to provide support to a lightweight aluminum roof. They constructed a retaining wall to support the sand and create an ordered space for benches. The steel superstructure that supports the retaining wall is embedded deep in the pile of sand. That, combined with a series of aluminum fins protruding from the wall and the thermal mass cooling effect of the sand, cools the space inside the structure.
Tent Pile was intended to serve as a practical solution to provide shelter and seating, while reimagining the fundamentals of architecture and encouraging people to participate in and enjoy the experience created by the temporary structure.