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Pop-up Habitat

Guangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen, Wuxi, Seoul, New York


Developed in Beijing, the Pop-Up Habitat is a modular and lightweight multi-purpose structure that re-purposes reflective panels commonly used in photography. The popularity of amateur photography is a recent phenomenon in China. The familiar sight of photographers using reflective panels serves as our inspiration.

The Pop-Up Habitat makes use of and exaggerates the inherent qualities of these reflective panels: rigidity, flexibility and collapsibility. Pop-Up modules are attached to each other with just velcro and are easily assembled. The Pop-up Habitat features an innovative use of structure. The design uses flexible spring steel rings combined with soft fabric to produce a rigid collapsible structure that is extremely light. The soft structure allows the Pop-up Habitat to fold into a fraction of its expanded size while its geometry allows it to be used as a free-standing structure able to span large spaces.

The design is instantly deployable, and goes from flat panels to enclosed space in just minutes. The Pop-Up Habitat is customizable and can be formed into arches and rooms, linear spaces or stacked vertically to create multi-story free-standing structures. It has been exhibited in a variety of forms including auditorium, gallery, and canopy in diverse locations: historic, commercial, suburban and city center, inside and outside. In one exhibition, the Pop-up Habitat became an unintended but apt backdrop for selfies.

A consumer version of the Pop-up Habitat is available as a weatherproof modular tent. Portable and quickly deployable, the tent offers the possibility of living just about anywhere. The individual modules can attach to each other to create multi-room structures and covered leisure spaces. These shimmering modules offer an infinitely expandable temporary city.

Playful and visually appealing, the simplicity of constructing the Pop-Up Habitat allows even children to be architects, constructing their own spaces for play and discovery. Anyone can construct their own building, customizing the shape to fit their own needs.

Pop-up Habitat

Location:Guangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen, Wuxi, Seoul, New York

Date of Completion: Jun 2013

Principals:He Zhe, James Shen, Zang Feng

Project Team:Niu Lei, Chen Yanjie

Photographer:People’s Architecture Office