Brick Wall Reinterpreted / Serpentine Pavilion 2016
At the Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park, London; On the grounds of the two Serpentine Galleries*, 16 years ago, a tradition of architectural pavilions began.
Only the most illustrious architects from around the globe spent six months assembling emblematic pavilions that would occupy the grounds during the English summer.
All-Star female architect Zaha Hadid was the first architect selected, in 2000, and this summer Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) became the 16th to leave their mark in the UK, with the 'Serpentine Pavilion'. Interestingly, each architect who has been selected over the years is one who has, until that time, no constructed work that exists in the United Kingdom.
Each year, selected architects push the limits of design and visitor experience, as they construct these memorable, but temporary pavilions. This year, Bjarke Ingels created an 'Unzipped' undulating wall. The 14-m tall wall swells at its center, creating cavernous and beautiful interior space for public consumption.
So why does this year's pavilion excite us more than ever? And why does it stand out to us (lovers of material-driven design)?
1) Brick reimagined: The transparent, but opaque pavilion is made of a single material- large hollow frames of fiberglass. Used the way that bricks would be, in a conventional wall, these fiberglass units are intended to be a reinterpretation of the simplest of building materials- the Brick. Structurally the two are so different, but the fiberglass frames mimic the patterning and organization of clay bricks.
2) Shelving repurposed: The fiberglass 'bricks' were born from and grew out of a shelving system that BIG was developing with a fiberglass manufacturer.
There is nothing we like more than quality design elements that can constantly be repurposed and gain a second or third life. This perhaps the most intriguing fact we learned as we read more about the pavilion.
3) Traversable: Though the Royal Park's Health and Safety Regime won't allow it, the structure was intended to be and structurally designed to cope with, people climbing it. Without guardrails, this isn't possible, but it is interesting for us to know of the possibilities that such a structure offers.
4) More is more: This year marks the addition of 'Summer Houses' to the program of the Serpentine Galleries. For visitors to the Serpentine Pavilion, there are 4, exciting, albeit smaller installations in close vicinity to the 'Unzipped wall'. Using stone, large coils of structural wood and modular metal spirals, the four neighboring structures magnify the impact of the single Serpentine Pavilion.
Read more about the Serpentine Pavilion here:
* The Serpentine Galleries are two contemporary art galleries in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Central London. Comprising the Serpentine Gallery and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, they are within five minutes' walk of each other, linked by the bridge over the Serpentine Lake from which the galleries get their names. Their exhibitions, architecture, education and public programs attract up to 1.2 million visitors a year. Source:Wikipedia