The Church Of The 21st Century Is Not A Church

Imagine your own utopia, a quiet and peaceful place where you can lay back and relax. With its Yourtopia pavilion, Amsterdam-based architecture office SeARCH wanted to create such a place. The structure, officially called Het Nieuwe Paviljoen, represents a utopian view on living in the early 21st century, answering the question: What is minimally needed to achieve an optimal quality of life?

You enter the pavilion, a temporary dwelling, through a narrow tunnel. The space is shaped as a dome, with a diameter of fourteen meters, made by an innovative steel construction. The shape refers to the traditional, nomadic types of dwellings such as the igloo. Inside foreign trees are growing, such as an exotic oasis, and grass is growing on the outside of the pavilion. In the middle of the roof daylight enters the calm space. The structure somehow reminds of projects like Helsinki’s Chapel of Silence, a wooden building in the middle of the city that has no other function than offering busy urbanites a moment of relaxation. It seems that the demand for such church-like environments is growing in times of 24/7 connectivity.


SeARCH’s building is the first realized pavilion of a series of pavilions, yet to be built. Every pavilion will be designed by a Dutch architect, designer or theorist every two years as part of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR). Each design will be a representation of the changing relationship between inside-outside, private-public, interior-landscape and culture-nature.



The initiative for these temporary interventions comes from Het Nieuwe Instituut, with the objective to start a discussion about the current relationships in society and their spatial expressions. Besides this greater ambition, it also offers the public space of the Museumpark a series of positive impulses. Until September 28th you can visit Yourtopia in Rotterdam’s Museumpark. The project is part of this year’s International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam.

Photo Courtesy
© Ronald Tilleman

IABR 2014

Pop-Up City is official media partner of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2014. In the coming months we’re making an article series about the best the IABR has to offer.