World-Famous Architects Design $480,000 Gazebos for Your Backyard

Prefabricated pavilions by the likes of Zaha Hadid made their debuts at Design Miami 2015—but who's buying?

Star architects known for dreaming up museums, concert halls, and stadiums are aiming to bring high design into a much more pedestrian segment: prefabricated, mixed-use structures.

If you don't want to spring for one of Zaha Hadid's $50 million penthouses, you can now have your own outdoor dining pavilion by the Pritzker Prize winner. Price tag: $480,000.

Made with wood, stainless steel, and aluminum, the curvy piece comprises a platform and a sprawling, perforated canopy, resembling a giant mushroom straight out of Alice in Wonderland. (This is a Hadid, after all.) It will be made in an edition of 24. 

Volu Dining Pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher, on view at Design Miami 2015.

Zaha Hadid's Volu Dining Pavilion, on view at Design Miami 2015, took four people and four days to assemble. The piece comes in an edition of 24, each priced at $480,000.

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

Hadid's pavilion was one of two prototypes that led the Revolution collection of prefabricated structures at Design Miami 2015 fair on Tuesday. Produced by real estate developer and art collector Robbie Antonio, the pieces were displayed by ETN Design, a new company of New York art dealer Edward Taylor Nahem. The line will consist of about two dozen spaces by designers and architects, including Ron Arad, Sou Fujimoto, and Michael Maltzman.

Model Art Pavilion by Gluckman Tang

Gluckman Tang has designed the sprawling Chelsea galleries of megadealer Larry Gagosian. Fittingly, its Model Art Pavilion is a 12.5-foot-tall white box.

Source: ETN Design

“These spaces are both functional and sculptural,” said Antonio, managing director of Philippines-based Century Properties, which developed the country's first Trump Tower. “I came up with a list of functions and offered participants to choose one for their design.” That could include taking tea, meditating, or having an afternoon nap in your vineyard in France.

One pavilion, designed by Gluckman Tang, looks like an elaborate bus stop and is described as a “movable object to display contemporary art.” In a rather meta moment, it displayed renderings of other prefab designs in Miami. It will be produced in an edition of 10, each priced at $130,000.

Moving some of these units may be easier said than done. Four workers toiled for four days assembling Hadid's dining pavilion at the fair, Antonio said.   

There were no immediate sales, and reactions were mixed.

Palloon Relaxation Pavilion by J. Mayer H. for Wallpaper*

The Palloon Relaxation Pavilion by J. Mayer H. for Wallpaper* is 27-feet long and 25-feet high and made up of overlapping plastic beams. You'll need quite a bit of space to park it—how about a desert?

Source: ETN Design

In the "love it" camp was Arnold Lehman, former director of the Brooklyn Museum. He said he would have liked to put Hadid's pavilion on his terrace in New York.

“The problem is," he said, "it's about three times the size of my terrace. This is an umbrella for people who have a private beach in Sardinia or on a Greek island.”

Bettina Beach Pavilion by Michael Maltzan

Michael Maltzman's Bettina Beach Pavilion has a steel structure and a fabric canopy that evokes a Bedouin tent. It's made in an edition of 100 (10 pieces in 10 colors), each priced at $35,000.

Source: ETN Design

Aby Rosen, a real estate tycoon in New York (with perhaps larger spaces at his disposal), said the work didn't grab him.

“It's so hard to place something like this,” he said after inspecting Gluckman Tang's art pavilion, a 12.5-foot-tall rectangular white structure with one wall leaning in at an angle. “It will always look out of context with [its] surroundings. Anywhere you put it, it will look like a spaceship.”

The structures are the first stage of a much bigger project, said Antonio, who declined to comment on whether the pavilions were done on spec or part of a later profit share. The end goal is to create a line of livable prefabricated homes designed by famous architects, complete with kitchens, bathrooms, and funky interior design. With the average unit price of $300,000, the structures should appeal to the broader middle market, he said.

1939 former French military shelter designed by Jean Prouve. On view at the Galerie Patrick Seguin booth during Design Miami 2015.

French architect Jean Prouve designed this prefabricated hut for the French army in 1939. Seen here at Design Miami, it's now priced at $2 million.

Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

 “I've been doing branded luxury towers for a while,” said Antonio, who has worked with nine Prizker Prize-winning architects. “Now I am applying the same approach to the prefabricated homes that are more affordable.”

The concept is not new. Just around the corner at the Design Miami show, Galerie Patrick Seguin is offering a prefabricated wooden hut designed in 1939 by Jean Prouve.

The 4-by-4-meter structure has a steel frame and an exterior lined with wooden panels. Originally, 300 units were produced for the French military. Only this one unit, now priced by the gallery at $2 million, is known to have survived.

“These are being sold as antiquities,” Peter Brant, newsprint mogul, said about the Prouve hut. "It's architectural and very beautiful.”  

 Will he add it to his design collection?

 “I wouldn't be averse,” he said. “I just don't need it.”

Armadillo Tea Pavilion by Ron Arad

Designer Ron Arad's 12-foot-tall tea pavilion resembles a giant armadillo with five arching plywood shells.

Source: ETN Design
Aluminum Cloud Pavilion by Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma's Aluminum Cloud Pavilion is made with hundreds of identical aluminum panels joined by slotting into place without the use of nuts and bolts, a method called Kangou in Japanese. The structure is 26 feet long and 10 feet high. Suggested use: teahouse, meditation.   

Source: ETN Design