Built on a seemingly straightforward concept, Danish art and architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group's newly announced design for the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion inverts everything you thought you knew the brick wall. Starting with a line, the designers "unzip" it, creating a space that feels like a stray pocket in space-time. BIG founder Bjarke Ingels describes it to The Creators Project as an organized collision of contradictions, "free-form ret rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both box and blob."
BIG's contribution marks the 16th year of the Serpentine Galleries' annual public architecture commission in London's Kensington Gardens. Last year Selgas Cano created a rainbow tunnel composed from lightweight eco-friendly plastic. Known for making outlandish ideas real—including a power plant decked out with Tesla Coils and a maze that gets easier the deeper you go—as well as designing 2 World Trade Center, BIG focuses on making a conceptual statement over an environmental one.
The 300 m2 structure will trade clay and mortar for a frame of extruded fiberglass. Effectively, the "bricks" are the air in between. The two sides pull away from one another like a zipper—from above they seem like a straight line, but at ground level the entrance to the pavilion's inner space is visible. A stark contrast to the transparent SyFy Channel-style curves are the warm wooden floors, rooting visitors in the natural even as they're surrounded by a scene out of Tomorrowland.
"Bjarke Ingels has responded to the brief for a multi-purpose Pavilion with a supremely elegant structure that is both curvacious wall ans soaring spire, that will surely serve as a beacon—drawing visitors acrose Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens," say Serpentine Galleries director Julia Petyon-Jones and Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist.
"This simple manipulation of the archetypical space-defining garden wall creates a presence in the Park that changes as you move around it and through it," Ingels explains. "The North-South elevation of the Pavilion is a perfect rectangle. The East-West elevation is an undulating sculptural silhouette. Towards the East-West, the Pavilion is completely opaque and material. Towards the North-South, it is entirely transparent and practically immaterial. As a result, presence becomes absence, orthogonal becomes curvilinear, structure becomes gesture and box becomes blob."
Check out more renderings of the BIG 2016 Serpentine pavilion below.
See more of Bjarke Ingels Group's work on their website.