The One Day Poem Pavilion was Jiyeon Song’s graduate thesis project in the Media Design Program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
The pavilion is a geodesic dome-shaped shelter punctured by a series of perforations that allow light into the shelter, at the same time projecting the text of poetry onto the ground beneath it. The specific arrangements of the perforations reveal different shadow poems according to the solar calendar. Using this “slow media” technique, the project demonstrates the poetic, transitory, site-sensitive, and time-based nature of light and shadow.
The time-based nature of the poem—and the visitor’s time-based encounters with it—allow viewers to have different experiences either seeing a stanza of the poem or the entire poem. It focuses on individual experiences rather than offering the same experience to all visitors.
Jiyeon Song selected shadow and light as an organic, non-static means of communicating information. Song studied basic forms of objects to understand the characteristics of shadows, then integrated the alphabet to learn how type can be shown as shadows. From these studies, Song discovered that shadows afford moments of legibility, narrative qualities, and feelings, and can create multiple meanings in an object.
The pavilion is functional in that it provides shade, but it also demonstrates an experimental method of integrating a narrative into an architectural space. Though the pavilion was constructed with the help of machines, the focus of the design is on nature as a medium.
The project illustrates the importance of interdisciplinary thinking in design and pushes the boundaries of communication. It also demonstrates how “slow media”—as compared to the high-tech media we encounter every day—can offer meditative moments in a fast-paced culture and sensitize us to nature.
Anne Burdick (Media Design Program chair/lead thesis advisor); Lisa Nugent, Tim Durfee, Peter Cho (thesis committee); Leah Hoffmitz, Lisa Krohn, Peter Lunenfeld, Phil van Allen, Martin Venezky, Norman Klein (faculty advisors)
Wes Hanson (Art Center Technical Support Center)
“This project does and says it all. A seamless amalgamation of sculpture, graphic technique, integration with the elements, discovery, and poetry in both a literal and figurative sense.” “When design meets poetry. Like a dream, it brings that old black magic through the precise perforations. The feeling of being alive. Perhaps the most inspirational entry.” “This architectural poem is a magical combination of the digital and analog. Blending light with darkness and texture with type, this piece— while frozen in mid-air—is animated by both its environment and its visitors.”