Providing playful shelter to outdoor enthusiasts

The Challenge

Prefabricated tents have become increasingly popular in recent years as a form of temporary outdoor shelter. These structures tend to be purely functional, providing cover for participants in street fairs and outdoor events, but adding little of aesthetic or interactive value to the environment. For their Streetfest Competition, the Ideas City 2013 Festival challenged contestants to design temporary outdoor structures that are playful and engaging.

The Solution

We created Wunderfrock, a series of large-scale frock-like structures that borrow from New York’s unparalleled history of fashion. Wunderfrock pays homage to the women immigrants who came to the city in the early twentieth century from all over the world, bringing their sense of style with them. The installation is also inspired by notions of freedom, cities, conversations, mischief, and everything that a metropolis like New York represents. The frocks act as prefabricated tents and provide shelter and flexible common areas for exhibitors, vendors, and other users. The frocks come in pairs and sometimes in threes but are never set up alone, reflecting the very human need for companionship and camaraderie. These duo/trio configurations also create flexible common spaces and allow for more than one vendor or exhibitor in a unit, encouraging interactivity amongst participants and recreating the feel of an old bazaar. The frocks themselves come in a wide range of colors and display a variety of ruching, lending the structures a wild and wondrous exterior and creating a fun-filled interior space. The frocks are customizable, much like any skirt, and can be pulled up to provide more light and air on hot days... a little show of leg never hurt anyone!

The Technical Details

The internal frock structure or hoop is created using bent wood lath, providing an ample girth of 12” x 9” and a height of 11”. The skirt-like skin is made of recycled military parachutes. Each module uses one parachute; the fabric is pre-stitched to fit with the wooden frame below, and additional ruching and draping is applied to create a more rigid texture on the sides and a looser and more inviting ruffle at the entrances. Wunderfrock is a sustainable installation; all the material used is either repurposed or recyclable.

Partnerships & Community

Wunderfrock was entered in the 2013 StreetFest Competition and was developed in collaboration with Kieran Martin.

Commissioning Partner

Storefront for Architecture


Concept Design


February 2013