New York-based studio The Very Many has designed and built a sinuous canopy that hovers over the entrance to a public pool in El Paso, Texas with In*Situ Architecture working as the architect-of-record. Dubbed ‘Marquise’, the canopy creates an entry structure for El Paso’s Westside Natatorium.
The design studio, led by Marc Fornes, with engineering from LaufsED, formed a self-supporting structure made of gridded, curvilinear panels. There are hundreds of lightweight aluminum shingles that form a larger surface, with gaps in between to produce a dappled lighting effect below. A diamond-like pattern in gradients of rich yellows and deep blues plays off the “fluctuations between warm and cool” of the desert setting and is meant to “saturate the palette of the surrounding landscape.”
The curved surfaces create an impression of a billowing tent rising from the ground, where it then organically forms two seats that are actually cast-in-place concrete elements. From the organic form of the awning, visitors have a unique spatial experience with alternating sensations of warmth and coolness, light and shade.
The Very Many is known for designing and building thin-shell pavilions and installations. In the same vein, Marquis achieves its thinness through compound curvature and structural shingles in two different thicknesses: 1/8 inch at its thinnest and 3/16 inch for reinforcement and resistance to point loads.
The name Marquise references the structure’s 21st century play on the Art Nouveau entrance, which is historically classified as a curvilinear steel frame and glass awning that is either attached to buildings or freestanding. Here, aluminum replaces the glass-and-steel frame to create a unified structure.