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
programe. The unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into a
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 Lay Light by 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 absence, orthogonal becomes
curvilinear, structure becomes gesture and box becomes blob.
Partners in Charge: Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Christoffersen
Project Leader: Maria Sole Bravo
Team: Aaron Powers, Alice Cladet, Claire Thomas, Daniel Sundlin, Jakob Lange,
Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Kristian Hindsberg, Kristoffer Negendahl, Lorenz
Krisai, Maria Holst, Maxwell Moriyama, Rune Hansen, Tianze Li, Tore
Banke and Wells Barber