top of page

Sziget Festival’s Cornelius Cube

**Second Place in the Structures of Freedom International Competition for Sziget Festival Pavilion**

Budapest Hungary


Type: Temporary Pavilion

Size: 1,000 sf

Project Text

Cornelius Cube is a cube measuring 10m x 10m x 10m.  At Budapest’s Sziget Festival, Cornelius is precariously perched on a temporary foundation made of painted plywood appearing as if he was dropped from the sky and crashed into the earth—corner first.  The perfect cube has been sliced, creating a triangular interior space from which festival goers can relax and become part of a three-dimensional painting. 


Cornelius Cube is constructed from timber construction debris.  Small, fragments of waste wood are collected from construction sites throughout Budapest, Hungary, and Europe and stitched together using a three-layer lamination technique.  All sides of Cornelius’ Cube are fabricated in this layering approach that allows for flexible construction generated from scraps of the construction industry.  Each wood fragment will be painted with a color—either Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, or White— which will codify where it has come from and give it a fresh identity.  This colored lumber will become the brush strokes to paint a three-dimensional painting—a map of material détournement.  


The construction of Cornelius Cube will be executed as an art performance.  Six teams, corresponding to the six sides of Cornelius, will work to laminate three layers of material.  Each layer is organized by a grid, but the color and rhythm will be orchestrated by the team of artists.  The act of construction will work like a musical jam session.  Each face of Cornelius will have a unique aesthetic driven by the intuitions of the construction team.  All connections will be bolted or screwed to allow for easy disassembly.   


Cornelius Cube aims to present something familiar but strangely abnormal.  The cube, is a form we know.  Timber is a material we know.  Yet, both of these familiar characters have been altered and transformed.  The cube is tilted and sliced, and now allows festival-goers to seek shade under the canted sides.  The wood is panted and fragmented, and now appears like particles and brush strokes.

Cornelius Cube is a structure made from material transience.  It emerges from the debris and scraps of the construction industry, but it is also assembled so that it can have multiple lives.  After a successful appearance at Sziget, Cornelius will be disassembled and reconstructed at several other sites in Europe and the US.  However, due to the flexibility of this laminated construction system, it will never be constructed in the same way twice. Cornelius Cube will be an icon for the transformation of waste, excess, and the everyday into new spatial realities. 



Seth McDowell, Scott Fundling


©mcdowellespinosa architects

bottom of page