Geometric yet curvilinear, modular yet sculptural, transparent yet opaque: this year’s Serpentine Pavilion inside London’s Hyde Park embodies a series of rare dichotomies. Designed by Danish architecture firm BIG– Bjarke Ingels Group, the project constitutes part of the Serpentine’s Pavilion commission, an annual program meant to promote the exhibition of architecture in a built form. The unconventional structure, which serves as a Harrods café by day and forum for learning, debate and entertainment by night, takes apart the traditional brick wall to create a complex three-dimensional environment. The ‘unzipped wall’ is erected from extruded fiberglass frames that are stacked on top of one another to form an undulating hillside and sheltered valley that ultimately coalesce into a sky-high spire. The wall’s shifted frames form rectangular gaps that filter in daylight and produce a dynamic play of light and shadow on the interior walls.
As guests wander around the structure, the façade is completely transformed: while the North and South walls form a perfect rectangle that is entirely transparent, the East and West façades form an undulating sculptural silhouette that is opaque and material.
The Serpentine Pavilion, which represents one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world, will be set on the Serpentine Gallery lawn from June 10 to October 9, alongside a program that includes four Summer Houses inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple.
Text by Julia Ardila Zurek