Freedom Park has emerged as one of Atlanta’s premier urban landmarks. Freedom Park is Atlanta’s Art Park and home to permanent art installations that span its 210 acres of linear green space. The pavilion concept SEAT by New York and Portland-based collaboration E/B Office has won the commission for this year’s Freedom Park Project at Atlanta. SEAT is a garden pavilion composed of approximately 400 simple wooden chairs arrayed and stacked in a 3-dimensional sine wave surface rising above the ground.
It formalizes the transformation of chairs from detached useable objects into structural and spatial components of an ambiguously occupiable edifice. It’s intended to be legible and readable as a collection of individual seats, but when approached, visitors realize that sitting down in any one of them amounts to a deliberate act of occupation one can’t take for granted as usual; a temporary social contract to redefine their perception of sitting embodied as architecture. The structure is zoned by rotational differentiation in groups.
Chairs around the immediate periphery are rotated for outward observation of the city and the surrounding neighborhood. At the base of the vortex, chairs turn inward to create an intimate, compressive space for visitors to converse and regard the upward flow of chairs transcending their function. Chairs suspended above ground between these zones re-constitute the role of the seated object as one that can also play as structure, decoration, and enclosure.
The chairs are additively assembled through a modified “corbelling” process achieved by sequentially attaching chairs beginning at the edges and corners working towards the center. At times, the result playfully resembles Persian Muqarnas. The chairs are esiliently connected to each other via simple lag bolts, clamps, and screws that are hidden from view. Parametric detailing manages tolerances and connection pecifics of this hardware. Moment and shear forces are transferred through the entire structure as a continuous diaphragm ultimately loading at the vortex center and the seated periphery on the ground.
A number of base connections, platforms, or struts may also augment structural stability and anchorage. Some cantilevered extensions exist to create overhanging enclosure, but are minor in actual weight aloft. Redundancy in aterial and connection will allow for stability, flexibility, and safety overall.