Irish Projects 2012

Pavilion of Ireland

Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council. The Commissioner, Elizabeth Francis and Curator, John Mc Laughlin chose to deliver a presentation on the dynamic Irish practice, heneghan peng architects at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia:

The Pavilion of Ireland is located at the end of the Artiglierie in the Arsenale; it is composed of a bench for resting & its structural moment diagram as a series of wall drawings.


The two opposing walls transcribe both the structural moment diagram for the bench & the cutting matrix for the individual stones which forms the 2 folded cut lines of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre; the fold of the building and the fold of the car park. A long 12 meter bench, constructed of 6 interlinked sections, 6 rotation-only fulcrums & 5 translation pivots, provides a place to sit at the end of the Artiglierie. The bench, when at rest in balanced equilibrium is horizontal.The soldier course, at 805mm above slab level, on the Artiglierie brick walls measures waterline and sets the height of the bench.

This simple machine is brought out of stable equilibrium by sitting, changing the body’s relation to the set 805mm geometric horizon.

12 interlinked lever arms rotate; responding to a precise mechanical relationship set up between variable constraints, mass & position and fixed constraints, 11 pivot axes. A second person sitting sets in motion a second series of interconnected movements and so on with every subsequent visitor. Motion can be varied by sliding the body horizontally. This translation of mass along the bench length varies the lever arm and the resultant applied moment. Force applied at any of the 6 fulcrums (which are marked) does not vary motion; the bench remains static. The bench returns to stable equilibrium when no acting bodies are present.