Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

The Serpentine Gallery has unveiled the designs for the 2016 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London designed by BIG. The new installation is a soaring and curvaceous structure that returns to one of architecture’s most basic elements: the brick wall, resulting in a dramatic shift between a straight line and a three-dimensional space.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 technical information

We have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites, a structure that is free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both solid box and blob.

– Bjarke Ingels

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 Photographs

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 Interior / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 Detail / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

© Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia

Serpentine Pavilion 2016 / BIG

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Statment by the Architects

For the Serpentine Pavilion 2016, we have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites: a structure that is free-form yet rigorous; modular yet sculptural; both transparent and opaque; both solid box and blob.

We decided to work with one of the most basic elements of architecture: the brick wall. Rather than clay bricks or stone blocks, however, the wall is erected from extruded fibreglass frames stacked on top of each other. The wall is then pulled apart to form a cavity within it, to house the events of the Pavilion’s programme.

This unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into a space. A complex three-dimensional environment is created that can be explored and experienced in a variety of ways, inside and outside. At the top, the wall appears like a straight line, while the bottom of it forms a sheltered valley at the entrance of the Pavilion and an undulating hillside towards the Park.

The unzipped wall creates a cave-like canyon lit through the fibreglass frames and the gaps between the shifted boxes, as well as through the translucent resin of the fiberglass. As a result, the shifting overlaps as well as the movement and presence of people outside create a lively play of light and shadow on the cave walls within.

The materials include wooden floors and extruded Fiberline profiles, providing every surface with a warm glow and linear texture – from the mesh of woven glass fibres to the undulating lines of the grain of the wood. This simple manipulation of the archetypal space-defining garden wall creates a presence in the Park that changes as you move around it and as you move through it. The North-South elevation of the Pavilion is a perfect rectangle. The East-West elevation is an undulating sculptural silhouette.

Towards the East-West, the Pavilion is completely opaque and material. Towards the North-South, it is entirely transparent and practically immaterial. As a result, presence becomes absence, orthogonal becomes curvilinear, structure becomes gesture, and box becomes blob.

About the Serpentine Pavilion

The Serpentine’s Pavilion commission, conceived in 2000 by Director Julia Peyton-Jones, has become an international site for architectural experimentation and has presented projects by some of the world’s greatest architects. Each Pavilion is sited on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn for four months and the immediacy of the commission – taking a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a unique model worldwide.

The selection of the architects, chosen for consistently extending the boundaries of architecture practice, is led by the Serpentine’s core curatorial thinking, introducing contemporary artists and architects to a wider audience. The brief is to design a 300-square-metre Pavilion that is used as a café by day and a forum for learning, debate and entertainment at night. Serpentine Galleries will be partnering with Harrods for the 2016 Pavilion Café.

The Serpentine Pavilion is one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world. There is no budget for the project, it is realised through sponsorship, help-in-kind support and the sale of the Pavilion.

Cite this article: "Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 / BIG," in ArchEyes, June 12, 2016, http://archeyes.com/serpentinte-pavilion-2016-big/.