Dazzling Street Tent by Davidson and Rafailidis Wins Second International Design Award

By Rachel Teaman

Published July 9, 2014

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MirrorMirror, the award-winning temporary street tent by architecture professors Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis, has again been recognized by the international design community.

The dazzling, mirrored festival tents were recently announced as the winner of two 2014 AZ Awards, earning both the “People’s Choice Award” and an “Award of Merit” in the Temporary Architecture category. Sponsored by the design magazine Azure, the AZ Awards represent an international snapshot of top architecture and design.

This year’s competition drew 652 entries from around the world. Both a Jury and People’s Choice award were presented across 13 categories, from residential and landscape architecture to interior and furniture design to student projects. An Award of Merit was given to 36 projects.

MirrorMirror was developed by Davidson, clinical assistant professor of architecture, and Rafailidis, assistant professor of architecture, through their Buffalo-based practice, Davidson Rafailidis. It was the winning entry for the 2013 IDEAS CITY StreetFest Tenting Competition, which asked an international field of designers to reimagine temporary street tents as provocative spaces for the public to gather and interact. That competition was sponsored by the Storefront for Art and Architecture and New Museum in collaboration with Architizer.

MirrorMirror features a simple 45-degree-angled gabled roof made of mirrored panels and an aluminum frame. Multiples of its 12-foot by 16-foot base unit can be combined to create a barn-like structure for larger gatherings. The panels, which reflect public interactions below and the sky and surroundings above, are sheathed in Mylar mirror foil, a material often used as glassless mirrors in dance studios.

“The AZ award is especially exciting for us, as it attracts an incredible amount of international submissions every year,” said Davidson, whose research and practice collaborations with Rafailidis explore heightened physical relationships between buildings and users.

Added Rafailidis: “We are also excited to see the tents adopted into a wide range of different events and sites so naturally. This allows us to study the main concept, which is a structure that blends in all sorts of unknown future settings and a structure that relates to people independently from any specific use.”

For the past year, the tents have been on display at the New Museum, a leading contemporary art museum in Manhattan. This summer, the New Museum has loaned them out for a series of festivals and events in Buffalo. In June, the tents were featured at a gala at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. MirrorMirror, including eight tent units, will be on display through August 15 at the Canalside cultural and entertainment district in downtown Buffalo. This waterfront installation is being offered in collaboration with the Echo Art Fair, a juried fine art exposition that will take place at the Erie County Public Library September 6-7, 2014.

The tents will return to the New Museum in the fall and will reappear on the streets of Manhattan for the 2015 IdeasCity festival.

Project Credits

Full name of the project:  MirrorMirror IDEAS CITY Festival StreetFest tent design by Davidson Rafailidis, commissioned jointly by Storefront for Art and Architecture and the New Museum, New York


Design firm: Davidson Rafailidis


Team Leaders/Principals: Georg Rafailidis, Stephanie Davidson


Project staff: Jia Ma, Aleksandr Marchuk


Structural engineer design phase: Matthias Michel, Imagine Structure, Frankfurt, Germany


Structural engineer realization: Peter Grace, School of Architecture and Planning, University at Buffalo


Fabrication support by students of the University at Buffalo: Zakaria Boucetta, John Costello, James Rice, Matthew Rosen, Fan Yang


Fabrication and assembly: Jon Spielman, Tyler Griffis at the Essex Art Center, Buffalo, NY


Mirror panels: LiteMirror—Shatterproof Glassless Mirrors, Lighter and Brighter than Plate Glass, litemirror.com, Irvington, New York