Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery in London, has commissioned a temporary annual summer Pavilion which has become one of the most sought after small scale architecture projects in the world. Each pavilion is designed by a leading Architect (who hasn't yet built in the U.K) who accepts the project as an unpaid commission.
This year's Pavilion has been designed by the Danish firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group). Founded in 2005 by Bjarke Ingels, this hugely innovative practise has turned the simplest element of architecture - the wall - and "unzipped it to form a hall inside."
The Pavilion is made up of thousands of fibreglass blocks staggered to create a stepped structure which simultaneously appears both geometric, and curvaceous or undulating, depending on which angle it is viewed.
The Pavilion is by it's very nature, a space that invites participation and engagement. The stepped blocks encourage people to climb and sit, whilst the interior creates a cocoon to participate in the Serpentine Gallery activities. This year, it houses a cafe with free family activities by day, and at night it transforms into a space for performances by artists, writers and musicians.
The space frames the Gallery beyond and creates tantalising glimpses of landscape through the hollow blocks. Bjarke Ingels loves combining contradictory ideas and materials to create something new.
The Pavilion 2016 opens today, until 9 October, and then it will be dismantled and transported to it's new home.
The Serpentine Gallery has been a champion of supporting this type of temporary Architectural work and over the past 16 years, there have been some amazing Pavilions - we took a look at some of these in a previous blog post here.
All is not lost for those of us based on the other side of the world however! Melbourne has recently had it's own summer Pavilion (in fact last year there were two) - and the winner of this year's NGV pavilion has been announced (local practice M@Studio Architects) - more on that here. We look forward to seeing that later on in our Summer.