London | Serpentine Pavilion 2016 by BIG – BJarke Ingels Group

Place: London, Country: United Kingdom
Serpentine Galleries
Serpentine Pavilion 2016
by BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group
Text by Inexhibit
Project description by Bjarke Ingels
Images, courtesy of BIG


Architect Bjarke Ingels in front of the Serpentine Pavilion 2016 designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Photo © Iwan Baan

Serpentine Wall | The Serpentine Pavilion 2016 by Bjarke Ingels Group

Two elements (replicated and shifted in space hundreds of times) form the Serpentine Summer pavilion which – from June 10 to October 9, 2016 –  welcomes visitors at Kensington Gardens in London.





above: Serpentine Pavilion 2016 designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Photo © Iwan Baan

Since the first edition, in 2009, the pavilion is an eagerly anticipated venue for who want to listen to music, enjoy live performances, or simply sip a cup of tea, while looking at the gorgeous natural environment around.
Furthermore, due to its being an ephemeral structure, the pavilion is an intriguing occasion for the architects who, each year, are commissioned the design of a micro-architecture living only a season.



Hence, the design of the 2016 edition of the Serpentine Pavilion, conceived by the acclaimed Danish practice BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, copes with the need to create a temporary architecture, which can be built quickly and with a limited budget, by devising an elegant structure generated by “warping” a wall made of only two elements, bricks and joints.
The outcome is a welcoming, organic-shaped, space well capable to interact with the public and the fascinating landscape around it.




Serpentine Wall.
Project description by Bjarke Ingels

For the Serpentine Pavilion 2016, we have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites: a structure that is free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both box and blob.



We decided to work with one of the most basic elements of architecture: the brick wall.
Rather than clay bricks or stone blocks – the wall is erected from extruded fiberglass frames stacked on top of each other.
The wall is pulled apart to form a cavity within it, to house the events of the Pavilion’s programme. The unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into space. A complex three-dimensional environment is created that can be explored and experienced in a variety of ways: inside and outside. At the top, the wall appears like a straight line, while the bottom of it forms a sheltered valley at the entrance of the Pavilion and an undulating hillside towards the park.



The unzipped wall creates a cave-like canyon lit through the fiberglass frames and the gaps between the shifted boxes as well as through the translucent resin of the fiberglass.
As a result, the shifting overlaps, as well as the movement and presence of people outside, create a lively play of light and shadow on the cave walls within.
The materials include wooden floors and extruded Fiberline profiles, providing every surface with a warm glow and linear texture – from the mesh of woven glass fibers to the undulating lines of the grain of the wood.


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. 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 an absence, orthogonal becomes curvilinear, the structure becomes gesture and box becomes a blob.



 All images courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group


Serpentine Summer Pavilion | 2016
June 10  / October 9, 2016
The Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens, London

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