BIG unveiles the Serpentine Gallery Pavillion

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The architectural firm BIG, founded by Bjarke Ingels, has completed this year Serpentine Gallery Pavillion: an “unzipped” wall of glass fiber bricks.

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The project was imagined by the firm as  “both transparent and opaque, both solid box and blob”. The project was imagined by the firm as a wall distorted to create a tridimensional space. It’s composed by a cubic frame series made in glass fiber stacked one on the other to create a structure similar to a traditional brick wall. However the wall divides itself into an open curve, with jagged borders.

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“I think we tried to make a structure, that in an effortless way, combines a lot of differences: in one direction it’s all orthogonal and all transparent, but when you look through the other side it’s all opaque and translucent and has this curvilinear face.” says Ingels.

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“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.” explains the Danish architect, and he adds: ”So it’s a wall that becomes a hall inside, it’s a gate to the Serpentine Gallery, but it also creates a space for events.

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The Serpentine gives each summer a different architect the responsibility to design and realize the external pavillion of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington gardens, offering to young architects the possibility to show off their projects in the flourishing architectural UK scene.

For the first time, four “summerhouse” will join the main pavillion; these were designed by the Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, by the German Barkow Leibinger, by the Parisian Yona Friedman and by the British Asif Khan.

According to gallery managers Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Bjarke Ingels answered to the project brief with a multi-purpose pavillion with a very elegant structure that will draw visitors through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens that will visit the pavillion, the summerhouses and the exhibitions of Alex Katz and Etel Adnan.

Ingels sais: “I think we tried to make a structure, that in an effortless way, combines a lot of differences,” and adds “So it’s a wall that becomes a hall inside, it’s a gate to the Serpentine Gallery, but it also creates a space for events.”

“In one direction its all orthogonal and all transparent, but when you look through the other side it’s all opaque and translucent and has this curvilinear face.”