UNZIPPED WALL: Serpentine Pavilion by Bjarke Ingels

August 2016

“I think that’s, at its core, what architecture is: it’s creating poetry out of the practical; it’s taking all of those quotidian elements and putting them together in a way that becomes an adventure”. – Bjarke Ingels

As the founder of the internationally renowned Danish architecture firm BIG, Bjarke Ingels is known for his exciting conceptual designs. Now, for the 16th edition of the annual Serpentine Gallery program, Ingels has translated his forward-thinking design into a temporary pavilion that features a wall of translucent blocks that appears to unzip and creates a curving interior.

Comprised of 1,802 stacked fiberglass boxes stretching over 273 square feet, Ingels’ Serpentine Pavilion contrasts differences in an effortless way. “We have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites: a structure that is free-from yet rigorous; modular yet sculptural; both transparent and opaque; both solid box and blob”, says Ingels.

The design of the pavilion reflects what the architect refers
​to ​as “Bigamy” – combining seemingly disparate elements in a single structure. When viewed from the front and back, it looks blurry and curvilinear, but when viewed from the side it transforms into a transparent and geometric grid, allowing visitors to see right through to the other side. He describes the finished pavilion as “a hybrid between a building and a piece of furniture”.

The Serpentine Gallery commissions a different architect to create a structure each year. Previous designers include SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, Sou Fujimoto, among others.

The Serpentine Pavilion is on view at Hyde Park London until October 6, 2016. By day the pavilion houses a cafe and free family activities and by night becomes a space for the Serpentine’s acclaimed Park Nights programs of performative works by artists, writers and musicians. A true hybrid not only in appearance, but also in function.

​Cover image: Architect Bjarke Ingels in front of the Serpentine Pavilion 2016 designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); (10 June – 9 October); Photo © Iwan Baan