Photo: Mikal Schlosser

Giant cardboard pavilion at Roskilde Festival

Thursday 05 Jul 18
A pavilion made of cardboard tubes sets the scene for DTU’s participation at Roskilde Festival and is a new take on the types of materials that can be used for construction purposes.

Between the Avalon and Orange stages at Roskilde Festival, a team of students are building the place where DTU students over the coming days will present their many projects to the festival-goers.

But being engineering students, a couple of white pavilions or a rented tent will of course not do. No, they have spent five months on creating a structure that reflects the values DTU and Roskilde Festival have in common, and where elements such as design, sustainability, and short assembly and disassembly times are factored in.

“Our main goal was to create a design that is the perfect fusion of DTU meeting Roskilde Festival. For us, it’s about departing from traditional thinking and moving in new directions through free play. In addition, ‘temporariness’ is a key element, as it is the epitome of Roskilde Festival that a city emerges in just a few days,” says Stephan Sander, who is studying architectural engineering.

He is interrupted by Charlie Bo Bøjsen Møller, who is also studying architectural engineering:

“And then we have also focused on sustainability—on Design for Disassembly, as it is called, where you don’t destroy the materials, when you pack up, but can move them and reuse them. In our case, you can also choose to rebuild it in completely different shapes.”

Festival the perfect test site
PaperPavilion is made of cardboard tubes measuring approx. two metres, which are coated with water-based lacquer—in the unlikely event of rain—and custom-made plastic joints. The first ideas for PaperPavilion were conceived in a a copy room at DTU, where the students found some cardboard rolls which were used for paper drums. In principle, it was a waste product, but by linking the—to put it mildly—very low-tech cardboard tubes with high-tech joints, they suddenly became interesting as a building material. And even though cardboard sounds fragile, the pavilion is designed to be used at the festival until 2020.

According to the students, Roskilde Festival is the perfect place to test this type of new construction methods. Here, you always want to test new new things and be inspired by others to find more sustainable ways of doing things. It may sometimes be in conflict with the opinion of the industry they will be working in after their studies:

“One of the problems in the construction industry is that sustainability is still a relatively new theme. It’s an industry with proud traditions—and at times conservative—with large sums of money involved, and where it is extremely difficult to change things. The concrete industry, for example, is very strong in Denmark. Everyone can find out how to build using concrete, the insurance companies are happy to insure things made of concrete, and you can borrow money to make things in concrete. All the structural aspects are in place, so it is ‘easy’, and that’s why you do it. But it’s not sustainable construction, if you actually design things to last for 30 years and then crush them afterwards and use them as road fill. And that is actually quite often the case,” says Stephan Sander and continues:

“It’s not something we can change overnight, but by working with a project like this one, we can perhaps help to take the lead and inspire, while at the same time building a methodology awareness of how we can work with sustainability when we start working in the construction sector.”

Roskilde Festival powered by DTU students

  • In 2010, Roskilde Festival and DTU entered into a formal collaboration about using the Festival as a future laboratory and create innovative engineering solutions to some of the Festival challenges. Learn more on Roskilde Festival - powered by DTU students.

  • The students will earn five ECTS points in the course of the project period. The collaboration has also ensured that DTU students behind the start-ups Volt, DropBucket , Kubio (Danish website), PeeFence, and GLØD have had a platform for testing their technology before they started their businesses.

  • DTU’s own coverage can be followed on, Facebook, and Instagram.

DTU’s journalists are present throughout the Festival. For more information about the projects and interviews with students, contact Tore Vind Jensen, +45 3026 7710,