Pavilions great and small

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Each year the Serpentine Gallery invites an architect to create a summer pavilion that sits alongside the gallery in Hyde Park for four months, providing a social space. This year saw Chilean architect Smiljan Radić take up the challenge, and we love his luminescent cylindrical structure, which resembles a glowing pebble (pictured above).

Speaking about his design, Radic says, ‘the Serpentine 2014 Pavilion is part of the history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies, which were hugely popular from the end of the 16th century to the start of the 19th. Externally, the visitor sees a fragile shell suspended on large quarry stones. This shell, white, translucent and made of fibreglass, houses an interior organized around an empty patio, from where the natural setting appears lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating. At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.’

Inspired by the innovative design approaches year on year to the Serpentine Pavilion, we have brought together some more weird and wonderful pavilion designs that we are generally in awe of

 Dan Graham’s Pavilion, 2001, & Girls Make-up room, 1998-2000

For fifty years, American artist Dan Graham has made work that is poised between sculpture and architecture. He has been designing glass and mirrored pavilions since the late 1970s, which have been realised in sites across the world. These disorientating structures call to mind the use of reflective glass in the urban environment and highlight the voyeuristic side of design in the built world. Graham himself has described his work as ‘geometric forms inhabited and activated by the presence of the viewer, [producing] a sense of uneasiness and psychological alienation through a constant play between feelings of inclusion and exclusion.’

2 DG
2 DG

MoMA PS1 gallery Pavilion, 2014

For their commission for the 2014 MoMA PS1 gallery pavilion, New York studio The Living created a cluster of circular towers built from bio bricks that were actually grown from corn stalks and mushrooms – taking the concept of organic architecture to its perfect conclusion. Titled Hy-Fi, it was the winning project in the annual Young Architects Program contest, which each year invites emerging architects to propose a temporary structure that will host MoMA Ps1's summer events.

hyfi 4
hyfi 4

Uchronia by Arne Quinze

Uchronia, an art installation at the Burning Man Festival in 2006, was the creation of artist Arne Quinze executed by design group Quinze & Milan and financed by art philosopher Jan Kriekels. The structure was a dizzying mass of wood and fastenings that arched over visitors’ heads, and set the stage for a series of nightly performances during the festival. We think it would fit perfectly within the UAE’s own desert!

QUinze
QUinze

2012 Serpentine Pavilion by Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron

Another Serpentine Pavilion - for the 2012 structure, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron collaborated to create a pavilion that carved down into the ground rather than growing out of it. Covered by a floating platform roof of water, beneath the designers excavated the layouts of past pavilions and clad the interior in cork to echo the earth.  Through this archeological approach, tracing the ghosts of these past structures, they aimed to reveal the hidden history of the Serpentine Pavilion.

AWW 5
AWW 5