The so-called “unzipped wall”, and I can’t think of any other more appropriate name for the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Park, has been designed this year by the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). This is the 16th edition of the annual Serpentine Gallery programme, which offers architects the chance to create their first built structure in the UK. The dramatic structure has not been left alone and for the first time the Serpentine Gallery commissioned four architects to each design a Summer House.


And Bjarke Ingels took it seriously. The pavilion takes form from the most basic architectural element: the brick. But not a traditional and solid clay or stone block. Bjarke Ingels decided to stack extruded fiberglass bricks on top of each other creating two perforated surfaces that unfold going down towards the ground creating a space in between these two layers. I see it as a fabric tissue held on the top with two fingers while gently making it land on a horizontal surface.

“Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.” [Mies van der Rohe] 


As Bjarke Ingels said “the structure embodies aspects that are perceived as opposites. The pavilion is indeed free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, transparent and opaque, both box and blob.”

Absolutely check BIG website in which all the steps that led to the Serpentine Pavilion are showed through very clear and simple sketches and don’t miss the aerial photographs near the end of the slideshow, they give a totally new perspective. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the name of the photographer who took them so let me know if you know it.

The Pavilion and the Summer Houses are open until the 9th October, so there are still few more weeks to enjoy them.

All photos and words by Nancy Da Campo
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