Bjarke Ingels creates 'unzipped wall' for London's Serpentine Pavilion

by Magali Robathon | 08 Jun 2016

This year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), has opened in Hyde Park, London.

At the press launch yesterday (7 June), BIG founder Bjarke Ingels said that designing the pavilion had allowed the practice to demonstrate their values in a way that their more traditional building work cannot.

“As architects, we almost always work in situations that are so saturated with existing constraints that the project becomes very much about the place we're working in, and maybe less about the pure manifestation of our ideas about architecture,” said Ingels.

“The Serpentine Pavilion is a small pavilion in a gigantic park, and it can become a more pure manifestation of the values of the architect [who designed it].”

Ingels also said that designing the pavilion, which opens to the public on 10 June, was the perfect way to celebrate the recent opening of BIG's London office, which currently employs around 20 people.

"It's incredibly important that people remain at the forefront of what cities are about.”
British architect Asif Khan

BIG's pavilion is conceived as an “unzipped wall… pulled apart to form a cavity within it,” and is made from hollow fibreglass blocks stacked on top of one another. Viewed from the front, it looks almost solid, while from the side the hollow blocks allow views right through the pavilion to the park beyond.

Inside, the ceiling soars upwards, creating a cathedral-like space which will be used to host a cafe and events space during the day and the Serpentine Pavilion's annual Park Nights arts programme during the evening.

This year, for the first time, the Serpentine also commissioned four further temporary pavilions, or Summer Houses, by four architects who haven't previously completed a permanent structure in the UK: Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, founder of NLÉ; the Berlin-based practice Barkow Leibinger; Hungarian-born French architect Yona Friedman; and British architect Asif Khan.

Speaking to CLAD, Yona Friedman said that he originally conceived his pavilion as a “museum without doors that you don't need to pay to enter.” Friedman has created 'street museums' in Como, Italy and Shanghai, which allow residents to display objects of significance within them.

Asif Khan told CLAD that he hoped visitors would use his pavilion as a “calm and peaceful contemplative space,” and emphasised the importance of public space for cities.

“We're in a public park, which is freely accessible, and this is a free exhibition within that space which people can participate in and inhabit," he said. "It's incredibly important that people remain at the forefront of what cities are about.”

The Pavilion and Summer Houses will be open until 9 October 2016.

Bjarke Ingels  Serpentine Pavilion  BIG  Kunlé Adeyemi  Barkow Leibinger  Yona Friedman  Asif Khan 
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This year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), has opened in Hyde Park, London. At the press launch yesterday (7 June), BIG founder Bjarke Ingels said that designing the pavilion had allowed the practice to demonstrate their values in a way that their more traditional building work cannot. “As architects, we almost always work in situations that are so saturated with existing constraints that the project becomes
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BIG founder Bjarke Ingels said that designing the pavilion had allowed the practice to demonstrate their values / Iwan Baan
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