SPaRK – Ephemeral Architecture: 100 Projects, 1000 Ideas

Home is where the art is – building confident campers.

By Helen Yip – teacher at Asquith Girls High School.

SPaRK overview

A Shared Practice and Resource Kit (SPaRK) for Visual Arts Stages 4-6, Years 7-12.

Resource: ‘Ephemeral Architecture: 100 Projects, 1000 Ideas’ edited by Alex S. Vidiella, Promopress, Spain, 2016.

Book cover of Ephemeral Architecture

Educational significance


Ephemerality is an emerging characteristic of our 21st century urban landscape and mindset, with mobile pop ups, sculptural installations and boundary pushing builds dotting our streets, sky and in-between spaces. Concisely documenting 100 temporary architectural solutions and evolutions designed by contemporary architecture studios, this collection of recent projects exemplifies how conventional spaces can be challenged, re-imagined and re-activated. Students can critically investigate examples of land art, pavilions, stands, functional interventions, installations and projects with such apt titles as ‘Nomad’, The Movement Café, Bus Stop Symbiosis, Built to Wear, Liquid Sky, Chrysalis and ‘LEDscape’, and develop their own proposals and collaborative projects in response to their school or surrounding environment. Supporting students’ own research and experimentation, each example features details of the project’s location, area and client as well as detailed sketches, floorplans and photographs documenting its conceptual catalyst, construction process and audience interactions. Project-based learning can target the issue and ethics of sustainability, focusing on promoting students’ innovative interpretation and use of recycled or everyday materials and objects. Teachers should be aware that this publication contains some sensitive issues, including sexual references.

Outcomes and content

Stage 6 outcomes

  • initiates and organises artmaking practice that is sustained, reflective and adapted to suit particular conditions (Practice, H1)
  • selects and develops subject matter and forms in particular ways as representations in artmaking (Representation, H4)
  • explores the roles and relationships between the concepts of artist, artwork, world and audience through critical and historical investigations of art (Conceptual Framework, P8).

Visual Arts Stage 6 Syllabus

Photography, Video and Digital Imaging CEC Stage 6 Syllabus M1, M4, CH2

Visual Design CEC Stage 6 Syllabus DM1, DM4, CH2

Stage 4 and 5 outcomes

Photographic and Digital Media Years 7-10 Syllabus 5.1, 5.4, 5.8

Visual Arts Years 7-10 Syllabus 4.1, 4.4, 4.8, 5.1, 5.4, 5.8

Visual Design Years 7-10 Syllabus 5.1, 5.4, 5.8


  • Developing conceptual and material autonomy, positive risk-taking and responsiveness through the artmaking process
  • Connecting conceptual intentions with material actions to develop meaningful interpretations of the world
  • Exploring the functions of and interconnections between the artist, artwork, world and audience to research and describe a current technology in animal production or marketing.

Teaching activities

  • Brainstorm the ways in which architecture impacts our daily lives and influences our emotions, behaviour, movement, interactions and sense of identity within public and private spaces. Debate whether architecture is a form of art, considering form versus function.
  • Examine the development of conceptual and land art in the context of historical debates within the artworld and public sphere. Account for the ephemeral installation practices of Andy Goldsworthy, Jeanne-Claude and Christo, focusing on their innovative use of materials, natural forms and space. Create a temporary sculpture, installation or shelter using organic materials, considering structures such as webs, honeycomb and bird nests.
  • Discuss the significance of sustainability in art and design, exploring how recycled materials and re-purposed objects can be innovatively utilised to construct spatial and social interventions.
  • Develop proposals and collaborative projects that challenge, re-imagine and re-activate spaces within the school or students’ surrounding environment. Print photos of selected sites and experiment with drawing, collage, tracing paper and transparencies to visualise and plan temporary sculptural and/or functional site-specific installations. Refer to the works of Perry Kulper and Daniel Libeskind, Neil Spiller’s Map of the Surrealist City (2013), C.J. Lim’s ‘Virtually Venice’ series (2004) and UNIQLO’s Mobile POP-UP project (2011) to compare how artists and architects creatively interpret and represent new relationships of time, space and movement. Document student installations changing over time via time lapse or 360 degree photography or video. Use this footage to extend students’ individual artmaking practice, exploring experimental mark-making and print-making techniques.
  • Investigate how artists and architects explore in-between physical, metaphorical and cultural spaces. Refer to Do Ho Suh’s installations such as ‘Bridging Home’ (2010) and ‘Seoul Home/L.A. Home/New York Home/Baltimore Home/London Home/Seattle Home’ (1999), considering how and why he creates transportable homes.
  • Visit a public space and survey how users of the space interact, behave, converse and maintain a sense of personal space. Document findings via sound recordings, sketches, photographs, videos and interviews. Create an animated map, panorama or model of the space that subjectively interprets relationships and dialogue within the space, referring to the use of text and scale in The Movement Café project (2012).

The Movement Cafe, Morag Myerscough & Luke Morgan, Supergrouplondon from supergrouplondon on Vimeo.

  • Collect cardboard boxes and create humble homes at a miniature or large scale. Experiment with stacking, installation and lighting to create neighbourhoods, cities or makeshift communities, addressing contemporary issues such as overcrowding, diaspora and homelessness. Refer to Benjamin Van Oost’s ‘Favela’ (2007), The Ephemeral City (2016) and the Three Kings Factory project. Create tonal, continuous line and layered drawings on brown paper to expressively interpret finished cardboard sculptures and installations.
  • Transform interior or exterior spaces using simple, everyday materials to create optical and spatial illusions through reflections, transparency, lighting, colours, string, inflatables or repeated forms. Examine dynamic projects such as TourneAround(2012), Chromatic Screen (2012), ‘Capturing a Moment’ (2014), RedBall (2001-) and playLAND (2014), as well as the ethereal installations of Claire Morgan, Chiharu Shiota and Tokujin Yoshioka.
  • Critically interpret the concept of clothing and fabric as a vessel for human presence, memories, experiences and survival, analysing the conceptual and material approaches of Yin Xiuzhen, Keg de Souza’s tent installation 'We Built This City' (2016), and projects such as Liquid Sky (2007), Built to Wear (2009) and Tricentenari. Diversity (2014). Create a collaborative fabric or recycled clothing installation in response to a particular space, experimenting with drawing, painting, lino or screen printing onto fabric.
  • Fuse sculpture, installation, performance, dance, music, photography and/or film through a collaborative, interdisciplinary project similar to ‘Indexical{Space}’ (2013). Set up structural elements for performers to interact with and choreograph their movements through space.


Professional resources

20th Biennale of Sydney: Secondary Education Kit, The Biennale of Sydney

Promoting critical perception: Thinking big & re-imagining spaces, curriculum springboard (Scan 34.1)


642 Places to Draw by Chronicle Books, 2014

Architecture and Surrealism: A Blistering Romance by Neil Spiller, 2016

Big Art, Small Art by Tristan Manco, 2014

The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings (TED Books) by Marc Kushner, 2015

Liquid Spaces: Scenography, Installations and Spatial Experiences edited by Sofia Borges, Sven Ehmann and Robert Klanten, 2015

Nanotecture: Tiny Built Things by Rebecca Roke, 2016

Off the Wall by Kylie Hughes-Odgers, 2015

The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, 1994

Tokujin Yoshioka: Waterfall edited by Fiona Egan, 2011

Yin Xiuzhen by Wu Hung, Hou Hanru, Stephanie Rosenthal and Yin Xiuzhen, 2015


360 video - ‘The Ephemeral City’, Sydney Festival 2016 by Cinemersive - 360° Video, 2016

Chiharu Shiota installation: Time lapse video by Alison Bettles/Townereastbourne, 2013

Do-ho Suh by Art21/Lalulala TV, 2003

‘The Movement Cafe’, Morag Myerscough & Luke Morgan, Supergrouplondon by Supergrouplondon, 2012

Perry Kulper: What is architecture? by Whatisarchitecture, 2015

RedBall: Sydney (actions) by RedBall Project, 2014

Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by… you by Marc Kushner/TED, 2014


Ball-Nogues Studio

Chiharu Shiota, artist’s website

CJ Lim Studio 8 Architects

Claire Morgan, artist’s website

Do-ho Suh, Lehmann Maupin

Hollwich Kushner

Keg de Souza, artist’s website

Neil Spiller, artist’s website

Studio Libeskind

Studio Odile Decq

Teresa Otto, artist’s website

Tokujin Yoshioka, artist’s website

Yin Xiuzhen, Pace Gallery

How to cite this article – Yip, H. 2017, 'SPaRK – Home is where the art is – building confident campers. Ephemeral Architecture: 100 Projects, 1000 Ideas’ edited by Alex S. Vidiella ', Scan 36(2).

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