Architecture Art Feature Travel

Serpentine Pavilion by BIG Architects

Acanthus is pleased to highlight multimedia artist and photographer Maria Mainer with a portrait of the new Serpentine Pavilion in London.
Since 2000 each year the Serpentine Gallery selects an internationally renowned architect to build a summer pavilion in the lush Kensington Gardens. In its’ 16th edition Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has designed a tent-like space entirely constructed with only one modular framing element.


Serpentine Pavilion in London by Bjarke Ingels Group

The Serpentine Pavilions have no design restrictions and are primarily artistic forms with the only function to be a place for people to gather and relax. The temporary structures have become playgrounds for architects ever since. In this sense the election of BIG for this years’ pavilion seems to be a decent choice. The plan is based on two curved walls forming an S-shaped pathway. Each end has an open entrance. The long fiber-glass modules are stacked upon each other like bricks, yet always slightly shifted, breaking up the traditional idea of a vertical wall. The British newspaper The Guardian called it the »pyramid for the Minecraft generation« which definitely has a point. Nonetheless Ingels idea can be tracked down to a thousands of years old stylistic element: The new Serpentine Pavilion somehow playfully reinterpretates the Muqarnas, a classic architectural transition between wall and cupola invented in Islamic architecture.

While the basic brick element is a simple rectangular form the structure in its overall appearance is all wavy, creating a floating and almost vibrating inner space. As the material permits the elements to be open frames it’s a constant shifting between inside and outside. With this one simple module the BIG Serpentine Pavilion 2016 effectively creates a stunning space and an imposing expression of a contemporary garden pavilion.

Serpentine Pavilion by BIG in the Kensington Gardens, London from 10 Jun to 9 Oct 2016.


»A structure that is free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both box and blob.«
– Bjarke Ingels

acanthus_BIG_serpentine_Maineracanthus_BIG_serpentine_Mainer_c02acanthus_BIG_serpentine_Maineracanthus_BIG_serpentine_Mainer_c03Text: Alexander Stumm
Image credits: Maria Mainer

Maria Mainer is a multimedia artist based in London. She is working on personal projects and as a freelance photographer.


Instagram: @mariamainer


More English content on Acanthus Magazine here.

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