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 essential elements: the brick wall, resulting in a dramatic shift between a straight line and a three-dimensional space.
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 Technical Information
- Architects: BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
- Location: London, England
- Type: Installation
- Topics: Fibreglass, Serpentine Pavilion, Parametric
- Project Year: 2016
- Source: Serpentine Pavilion
- Photographs: © Luc Boegly, Sergio Grazia
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 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 essential elements of architecture: the brick wall. Rather than clay bricks or stone blocks, however, the wall is erected from extruded fiberglass 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 program.
This unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into 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 fiberglass 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.
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 fibers 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, the structure becomes gesture, and the 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 situated 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 broader audience. The brief is to design a 300-square-meter pavilion that is used as a café during the 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 realized through sponsorship, help-in-kind support, and the sale of the Pavilion.