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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Cloud chamber in London, United Kingdom by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

May 18th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Victoria & Albert Museum – 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces (exhibition 2010).

Cloud chamber

We envisage the Cloud chamber as a retreat detached from everyday life, in part a direct response to the urban context of the V&A and its surroundings, but also a vehicle for the public to engage with and experience architectural scale and space at first hand. The aim is both a visual and physical experience of the tension between a direct and expressive exterior and a sensual, surprising and challenging interior.

Scene WD

The exterior appears massive and tectonic, a solid wood construction, while the inside is the opposite, ephemeral and intangible. Projections of sky phenomena add a visual depth, a notion of floating in space. It is a room of intimate scale, yet vast or even infinite through the suggestive fiction of moving cloud scapes.

Concept Perspective

The architecture of the cloud chamber is in part a result of the need to house the video projectors, as such its programme can be described as a light machine. At the same time it is an evocative piece encouraging further associations; from an abstract wooden cloud, to a fallen star, or an oversized hand crafted object.

Children Playground


We envisage that a series of time lapse loops will be developed and projected on screens inside the structure. Clouds can represent a state of peace and tranquility, but cloudy skies can also be dramatic and expressive (for examples please also see the short clips sent via email).

Model 01

In addition sound (wind) and, if possible, climate (fresh air/cold) inside the Cloud chamber can further enhance the experience of a serene place, a refuge from everyday life.

Model 02

Based on a shell structure of massive wood (approx. 80-120mm thick) and low tech media, we believe that the construction should fit with the stipulated budget. The structure is possible to produce in modules off site and assemble in short time on location.

Model 03

Second life:
The wood structure can function as a play sculpture, possibly in a park like setting, close to a nursery school. In this state the screens and projections will be removed to leave a cave like interior space that can be explored. The protruding tubes will frame views of the sky and offer look outs to the exterior. The steepest surfaces will be stepped to form a seating gallery. Construction in massive wood will cater for long term durability when exposed to exterior climate.

Model 04

Short text:

Resembling an abstract wooden cloud or fallen star, this structure houses projectors and screens programmed with time-lapse imagery of cloud formations. Contrasting with the solid, emphatic exterior, every surface of the interior is covered with these film projections, thus offering an experience of weightlessness and intangibility. After the exhibition the structure should be hollowed out and become a children’s storytelling shelter.


Plan 01

Plan 02

Related posts:

Contact Tham & Videgård Arkitekter and Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

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Category: Urban Design

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