Pop-up Cinema – The ‘Centipede’

A new way to watch a short film! The temporary urban intervention in Portugal was intended to bring the city together through viewing a series of short films created by local artists. When the structure is fully utilized, the form resembles that of a centipede–a name that stuck, the Centipede Cinema. With three miniature pop-up cinemas and room for 16 people, the Centipede Cinema is a unique and obviously curious structure that would attract any passerby.

Conceptualized and designed by the Bartlett School of Architecture in Britain, the  simple design is colorful and utilizes a plentiful local resource; cork. The lightness of the cork allows for a simplistic and light steel structural frame but is also used to help with acoustics and light. The cladding of the structure is a lighter colored cork where as the interior cork is dark to help reduce light penetration and reflectivity.

This structure, a temporary statement of cork and its place in architecture, is also an interesting intervention within the historic UNESCO site. Awkwardly and obtrusively situated within the park’s open platform, it is able to draw interest through curiosity and intrigue. The simplistic rectilinear form has penetrable, deep-structured oculus tubes that open to below for a pop-up access to one of the three short films shown. Being placed on a UNESCO World Heritage site indicates the formal convergence of history, culture and community. The balance of time in history embrace and support the notion of past, present and future. Housing technology that helps to push forward dialogue and thought is necessary to inform and create feed-back cycles within our communication systems, innately pushing our societies forward. This project, though temporary in time, is timeless through the richness of the communal insight it creates.


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