Home / Architecture / Pupa pavilion recycled from shipping pallets and cardboard
The ordinary:Recycling and reusing are not new concepts. And so, when reclaimed shipping pallets and cardboard are sent into the recycling process, it is nothing out of the ordinary. Cardboard and the packing pallets are known for their strength. At the s

Pupa pavilion recycled from shipping pallets and cardboard

Pupa pavilion

The ordinary:

Recycling and reusing are not new concepts. And so, when reclaimed shipping pallets and cardboard are sent into the recycling process, it is nothing out of the ordinary. Cardboard and the packing pallets are known for their strength. At the same time, they are flexible too. They can be pulped on a mass scale and re-fabricated into tough building materials. In fact, many homes in earthquake-prone Japan are built largely from such light and recyclable materials that do not cause much damage in case of a collapse.


Nature is a great teacher. It inspires ideas that are simple in their concept but profound and elegant in their impact. All the building activity in nature – be it the hives of the bees, the webs of the spiders or the nests of the excellent weaver birds – occurs through the patient and repetitive construction of a single sub-unit. Though the whole process seems monotonous, the results are simply magnificent. The spider web glistening in the sunlight or the bee hives with its million hexagonal cells are wonders of nature. Simplicity and multiplicity going hand in hand seem to inspire great elegance and beauty in construction.

The extraordinary:

Inspired from the hard-working bees and spiders, Liam Hopkins has constructed an amazing pavilion, complete with tables and chairs, for the Bloomberg Philanthropy offices in Bloomberg. Named as the Pupa, most probably in honor of the stage in the metamorphosis of an insect where it emerges from an elaborately built cocoon, the pavilion is shaped like a long tunnel and built entirely from recycled wastes. It is definitely a piece of art and it carries a message – Waste not, want not! And so, using all the cardboard and packing wooden pallets waste from Bloomberg along with the inspiration from nature, Liam Hopkins has conjured up a masterpiece of a pavilion.

The making:

The cardboard and other wastes from Bloomberg arrived as bales. These were pulped in Stalybridge at a John Hargreaves factory and then reconstituted with 1910 machinery! Computer aided designing came very handy to generate the basic layout and the structure of the basic building units. This helped in the visualization part of the project. It was then that the individual units were made.

The frame for the pavilion was made with triangular cardboard borders numbering 3972. The same number of triangle inners fill up the frame. The frames and legs for the chairs and table were made from about 180 wooden pallets that were taken apart. More than 10,000 nails have been used along with leather offcuts to make the seats. The triangular sections are arranged repeatedly and the cardboard has been suitably modified to present a stable structure with ‘sound’ acoustics.

The target group:

This Pupa pavilion could be an excellent addition to huge corporate offices. It could also form a part of their activities for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for it concerns reducing wastes by recycling and reusing them. It would also form a good section in restaurants and even games arcades. That being said, the main target audience would be big companies.


The pavilion is definitely inspiring as a piece of art by itself. It is a structure that is sturdy and stable. It makes for a refreshing change in decor where it pierces through the visual clutter and brings in a whiff of architecturally fresh air. It brings into corporate offices, the harmony, symmetry and beauty of nature.

Related trends:

1. Matthias Loebermann’s Pallet Pavilion

Matthias Loebermann’s Pallet Pavillion

Oberstdorf in Germany, hosted the Nordic Alpine Skiing World Championship in 2005. It was for that event that the pallet architecture or palletecture of Matthias Loebermann came into light with the construction of a pallet pavilion which was made from 1300 shipping pallets. He used tie rods and pull straps to hold the structure together. The lighting provided was brilliant and the in-built glare reflectors ensured a grand look for the structure as light streamed out of the gaps of the pallets.

2. The Living Nature Pavilion

Living Nature Pavilion

Hector Ruiz Velazquez, a Spanish architect, created a pavilion entitled, Living Nature. Made entirely out of recycled cardboard boxes, the idea is truly out of the box if we can say so! One can walk through the aesthetic alleys and gangways that have been created from the boxes. The lighting is all the spaces is through the intelligent design and arrangement of the boxes.The structure resembles a brick one but is definitely much lighter and movable than one.

3. Temporary ‘Roll’ pavilion in Sydney

Temporary Pavilion for The Sydney

The Sydney Architectural Festival had a CH4 Student Design Competition among its various other activities. Creativity was seen at its architectural best and the students’ team from the University of New South Wales created a temporary pavilion from cardboard rolls used in the carpet manufacturing industry. The rolls had donned new roles as housing materials! 2000 tubes went into the making and they were held in place by plywood frames. The best part of this pavilion is that after a few months, it can be taken down and completely recycled into some other useful thing.

4. The BOXEL


The University of Applied Sciences at Detmold had its architecture students design a pavilion entirely from beer boxes that seem to have taken an entirely new avatar as buildings block of some ‘constructive’ activity.The design is visually appealing and it occupies minimal floor surface. It was done with the help of tools in digital design and fabrication. The construction involved a lot of engineering concepts because the boxes have been freely organized next to each other and have not been stacked up. Stacking is the usual format that is followed in such constructions. The spatial design of the structure is very conducive for concerts, presentations and other outdoor events.

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