MGF — ‘MegaFaces’ pavilion for the ‘MegaFon’ Company. Sochi, Olympic Park
1 530 m2
The Progress architectural company served as the chief designer as part of its participation in the implementation of the unique “MegaFaces” project - an interactive wall for all guests of the 2014 Winter Olympics created by the “MegaFon” company in the city of Sochi’s Olympic Park.
The concept for the pavilion was developed by the English architect Asif Khan, widely acclaimed for developing the Coca-Cola Company’s Beatbox musical pavilion for the London Summer Olympics. He proposed to MegaFon, one of Russia’s largest cellular operators, using the language of architecture and sculpture to express modern means of communication between people, and the gadgets they use to express their emotions and share their joy with as wide an audience as possible.
Every person located in Sochi or one of the other Russian cities participating in the project could take their picture and have the resulting image be modified into a 3-D version which then appeared in the form of a huge bas-relief on the wall of the pavilion. The algorithm for the 3-D scanning was developed specifically for this project. The relief image itself was created by means of a “live” 18 x 8 meter wall consisting of 11,000 actuators able to move 2 meters forward by means of electric motors controlled by 100s of processors for calculating the exact position of each element of the portrait.
The wall was able to simultaneously display images of 3 people. All told, portraits of 170,000 people engaging in the program “Become the face of the 2014 Olympics” were shown during the course of the pavilion’s operation (from February 7 through March 14, 2014).
On the surface, the pavilion was quite spartan in design: a simple parallelepiped formed by a white membrane stretched to form the walls. During the evening, the pavilion was back-lit from inside. The main façade is distinguished by an active wall made up of moving guide rails, each ending with a built-in RGB-LED lamp used for creating dynamically-lit 3-D images. Over the course of the 2-week long Olympics such relief-portraits were refreshed every 20 seconds on the active screen by virtue of a construction weighing some 170 tons.
The design of this unique project and the erection of the pavilion took less than a year. Participating in this effort were companies and experts from various countries engaged in providing computer and programming support, construction, and management systems for the “live” façade, 3-D facial scanning technologies and processing of the resulting images. From the Russian side, the Progress Company was responsible for adapting the architectural, construction and engineering solutions with an eye toward not only ensuring their compliance with existing Russian regulations, but taking into account the region’s high level of seismic activity. The company coordinated the interaction of the foreign experts with the client, developed detailed project documentation, and controlled the construction process for the pavilion at the Sochi Olympic Park. This most complex project technically and logistically speaking was completed on time thanks to the high level of professionalism and dedication of all the participants. The pavilion became one of the most popular Olympic infrastructure elements and literally the first example of modern kinetic architecture on Russian soil. After the Olympics, it received a multitude of awards at the largest world competitions – as a unique example of the symbiosis of architecture, design, and innovate technologies.