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[highlight1] Serpentine Gallery Art Pavilion 2013 [/highlight1]
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]erpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 – The latest pavilion, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, opened on 8 June and runs until 20 October. Fujimoto, the youngest of the 13 architects tapped for the annual pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens, envisioned the structure as an assemblage of white grids that is organic, almost cloudlike.
Architect Sou Fujimoto discusses his visionary design for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013, a delicate, cloud-like structure that experiments with immateriality and weightlessness. Inspired by organic structures, such as the forest, the nest and the cave, Fujimoto’s signature buildings inhabit a space between nature and artificiality.
- “It is a really fundamental question how architecture is different from nature, or how architecture could be part of nature, or how they could be merged…what are the boundaries between nature and artificial things.” – Sou Fujimoto
- “Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry,” – Sou Fujimoto
- “A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.” – Sou Fujimoto
The structure, built with 8km of steel tubing in 27,000 lengths, features elevated seating platforms and an undercroft café protected from the rain with polycarbonate discs.
The proposed structure consists of several steel trusses with 20 mm, resulting in a lightweight and transparent appearance, like a cloud merging with the landscape and the classical forms of the Gallery’s colonnade. With an area of about 350 m2, the structure was designed as a social space, flexible and multipurpose, where visitors are invited to enter and interact in various ways.
Described by Fujimoto as a ‘frame cloud and a polycarbonate cloud’, the pavilion, engineered by Aecom and built by Stage One, is composed of 20mm hollow steel piping formed into two cube units of 400mm x 400m and 800mm x 800mm. The units were welded into approximately 55 large sections, transported by lorry and bolted into place to form the cloud on site. The bolts in the sleeved connections were then sawn off and painted on site.
Fujimoto’s is the 13th pavilion in the longstanding series which has welcomed architects including Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry. Programme directors Julia Peyton Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist said the selection of Fujimoto was a deliberate move towards the inclusion of a ‘younger generation’ of architects to work on the famous commission.
- Peyton Jones said, ‘We are trying to create a balance through the architects we invite. We need to limit ourselves to architects who have sufficient means to make this commission a priority. Sou has a young, galvanized team. His office is resolutely low-tech, where the hand is ever present. He has kindly donated his sketchbooks from his work on the pavilion, and they are full of drawings and ideas. We adored working with him.’
- David Glover, chief executive of Aecom, said the biggest challenge was the speed of design and construction of the complex structure, including the sourcing of the material, which was supplied by three different manufacturers. The engineers had six weeks to work on the design with Fujimoto, six weeks for its manufacture, and six weeks on site.
- “This is an exciting and challenging opportunity for our team,” commented Glover. “Sou Fujimoto has designed a very complex structure made up of over 20,000 individual elements and 9,000 nodes compared to the 1,000 to 2,000 found in a typical building. This tubular steel frame and the integral poly-carbonate discs and seating elements are designed to work as a single element. As you would expect, the quality of the detailing and fabrication is fundamental part of the pavilion’s design, so our work will be on show for everyone to see. While this has certainly generated some pressure, we also look forward to having visitors ask themselves ‘How did they manage to achieve that?'”
- The tubular steel frame, and the integral polycarbonate discs and seating plans are designed to work as a single element,” adds Glover. “As you would expect, the quality of the detailing and fabrication is a fundamental part of the design, so our expertise will be on display for everyone to see. While this has certainly been a challenging project, we also look forward to having visitors ask themselves, ‘How did they manage to achieve that?’.”
The design envisions a translucent structure made up of a series of modules that stands out from past pavilions in that it is all structural with no traditional cladding, rather it relies on the poly-carbonate discs to provide protection from the elements. This enables it to interact with the changing light to create different experiences for visitors throughout the day.
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 is designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.
He is the thirteenth and, at 41, youngest architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary structure for the Serpentine Gallery. The most ambitious architectural programme of its kind worldwide, the Serpentine’s annual Pavilion commission is one of the most anticipated events on the cultural calendar. Past Pavilions have included designs by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Frank Gehry (2008), the late Oscar Niemeyer (2003) and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural structure in 2000.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most important architects coming to prominence worldwide, Sou Fujimoto is the leading light of an exciting generation of artists who are re-inventing our relationship with the built environment. Inspired by organic structures, such as the forest, the nest and the cave, Fujimoto’s signature buildings inhabit a space between nature and artificiality. Fujimoto has completed the majority of his buildings in Japan, with commissions ranging from the domestic, such as Final Wooden House, T House and House N, to the institutional, such as the Musashino Art Museum and Library at Musashino Art University.
Occupying some 350 square-metres of lawn in front of the Serpentine Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’s delicate, latticed structure of 20mm steel poles will have a lightweight and semi-transparent appearance that will allow it to blend, cloud-like, into the landscape and against the classical backdrop of the Gallery’s colonnaded East wing. Designed as a flexible, multi-purpose social space – with a café sited inside – visitors will be encouraged to enter and interact with the Pavilion in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in London’s Kensington Gardens.
AECOM have provided engineering and technical design services for the Pavilion for 2013. David Glover, AECOM’s global chief executive for building engineering, has worked on the designs of many previous Pavilions. Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “Art and architecture is always experienced within the context of nature at the Serpentine. Like the park that surrounds the Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’s extraordinary design for our new Pavilion inhabits a space between nature and artificiality. While the structure blends, cloud-like into its natural surroundings, the intricate matrix of interlinking grids suggests a digital aesthetic that resonates with our age. This harmonious combination of architecture, technology and nature makes it the perfect landmark for the Serpentine Gallery, for Kensington Gardens and for London this summer. We are thrilled with the result and hope everyone who can, will come and see it.”
- “We are thrilled to be working with one of the most fascinating architects in the world today. A visionary, who has conceived an extraordinary response to our invitation to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Sou Fujimoto has designed a structure that will enthral everyone that encounters it throughout the summer.” – Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said
“For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.
The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The overall footprint will be 350 square-metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. A series of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space.
The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will create a geometric, cloud-like form, as if it were mist rising from the undulations of the park. From certain vantage points, the Pavilion will appear to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.”
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion History:
The Pavilion architects to date are: Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, 2012; Peter Zumthor, 2011; Jean Nouvel, 2010; Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA, 2009; Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (unrealised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond – with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, 2000.
- There is no budget for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission. It is paid for by sponsorship, sponsorship help-in-kind, and the sale of the finished structure, which does not cover more than 40% of its cost. The Serpentine Gallery collaborates with a range of companies and individuals whose support makes it possible to realise the Pavilion.
- Sou Fujimoto’s temporary Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will be in Kensington Gardens, London W2 until 20 October 2013. For more details visit www.serpentinegallery.org
About the Serpentine Gallery:
The Serpentine Gallery is one of the UK’s best-loved galleries for modern and contemporary art, and is the only publicly-funded, modern and contemporary art gallery in London to consistently maintain free admission.
Since 1970, the Serpentine has gained an international reputation for excellence, presenting pioneering exhibitions of 1,600 artists, architects and designers in 43 years. The Gallery, a Grade II-listed former tea pavilion, underwent a major renovation in 1998 under the Patronage of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Later this year, the Serpentine will open its new space, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. This innovative arts venue for the 21st century will be housed in the Grade II-listed artillery store formerly known as The Magazine, which is being renovated and extended by Pritzker-Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid. Providing London with a new cultural destination, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is will be situated just a five-minute walk from the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens.
Named after Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler, whose foundation has made the project possible, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery will offer nearly 900 square metres of exhibition and social space. The adjoining extension will be used as a restaurant/café, creating a permanent architectural landmark in the heart of London.
[highlight1] Project Data [/highlight1]
Project name: Serpentine Gallery Art Pavilion 2013
Location: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, South Kensington, London W2 3XA, United Kingdom
Type: Pavilion, Art in Architecture
Specific Use of Building: Temporary Exhibition Space Pavilion
Materials: tubular steel frame and the integral poly-carbonate discs
Project Area: 350 sqm
Construction Year: 2013
Open to the public: 8 June – 20 October, 2013
Completion Year: 2013
[highlight1] The people [/highlight1]
Client / Owner / Developer: Serpentine Gallery
Architects: Sou Fujimoto – Sou Fujimoto Architects – Ichikawa Seihon building 6F 10-3, Higashienoki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Architectural Design Team: Nadine De Ripainsel, Keisuke Kiri, Ryo Tsuchie, Haruka Tomoeda, Yibei Liu, Midori Hasuike, Minako Suzuki, Marie de France, Andreas Nordström
Structural Engineering: David Glover, with Jon Leach, Tom Webster, Harriet Eldred and Jack Wilshaw, AECOM
Project Directors: Julia Peyton-Jones, with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery
Project Leader: Julie Burnell, with Amy Brown and Robertta Marques, Serpentine Gallery
Project Curators: Jochen Volz, with Sophie O’Brien and Rebecca Lewin, Serpentine Gallery
Project Managers: Gareth Stapleton, with Nazma Uddin, Rise
- Lord Palumbo, Chairman, Serpentine Board of Trustees
- Zaha Hadid, Architect, Serpentine Board of Trustees
- Colin Buttery, Director of Parks, The Royal Parks
- Westminster City Council Planning Office
- Hassan Lashkariani, Building Control, Westminster City Council District Surveyor’s Office
- Jenny Wilson, Licensing Authority, Westminster City Council
- London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority
- London Region, English Heritage
- Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
Construction: Ted Featonby with Mick Mead, Stage One
Consultants: Barnaby Collins and James Penfold, DP9
- Sponsores: HP, Hiscox
- Media Partner: The Independent
- Platinum Sponsors: Rise, Viabizzuno progettiamo la luce
- Gold Sponsor: Weil
- Silver Sponsor: XXL GLASS
- Bronze Sponsors: DP9, EC Harris, Grangewood, Knight Frank LLP, SABIC, Site Engineering Surveys, Smeg
- Supports: The Japan Foundation
- Additional Support: ANA, The Japan Society
Text Description: © Courtesy of Serpentine Gallery, AECOM, Sou Fujimoto
Images: © Ben Stansall, Christian Sinibaldi for Guardian, Laurence Mackman, AECOM, David Crundwell, Valentijn Byvanck, Serpentine Gallery, Alexandra b Almeida, Jim Stephenson, Iwan Baan, Lefteris Pitarakis, Lewis Ronald, Nargess Shahmanesh Banks, Peter Macdiarmid, Ray Tang, Studio Cyrille Thomas, Sou Fujimoto Architects
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[highlight1] Video [/highlight1]
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[highlight1] Location Map [/highlight1]
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