Since 2000, London’s Serpentine Galleries have commissioned leading architects to construct an annual temporary pavilion on the premises for the summer months. The program, which has yielded structures from many of the most prominent living architects, is in the top ten most visited architecture and design exhibitions in the world.
Led by “starchitect” Bjarke Ingels and a small team of designers, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion was designed by the New York branch of Danish office Bjarke Ingels Group, known for their defiant and ambitious projects.
BIG’s concept — which went public this morning — explores the most fundamental architectural element: the wall. Pulled apart, or as Ingels describes “unzipped,” a walkway and space is created through its center, turning a usually static element into a dynamic experience for gallery-goers and performance artists.
Made from extruded fiberglass, the design is “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 box and blob.” Your perception of the form changes as you move around and through it, owing to its dimensions, construction and materials.
Past architects have included Zaha Hadid (who created a permanent expansion on one of the buildings), Frank Gehry and a collaboration between Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron.
This is the last year that the Serpentine Pavilion’s founder will oversee the process: Julia Peyton-Jones, also the director of the Serpentine Galleries since 1991, announced that she will step down from her role this summer.
The galleries, which sit between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, draw over a million visitors per year.
Images courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group