Although it’s only been going for 13 years, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has fast become a tradition on the London art scene. Every year, the gallery in Kensington Gardens invites an architect to design a temporary structure outside the building for the summer. This year, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto became the thirteenth, and youngest to date at 41, to create a structure. Unveiled in late June, Fujimoto’s Pavilion will awe visitors to the gallery until October 20 before it is dissembled. He follows in the footsteps of past architects who have created Pavilions for the gallery, including Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer. Personally, my favourites were Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen in 2007 and Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond with Arup in 2002. To see images of previous year’s Pavilions, click here.
Since its opening, I have visited Fujimoto’s Pavilion twice – at sunset and late afternoon. The structure is made of 20mm steel poles with its lattice style giving it an airy and semi-transparent feel. Inside is a café, with sheer blocks integrated amongst the poles so visitors can interact with the Pavilion by sitting on its staggered layers. Fujimoto says he was inspired by the concept of geometry and how ‘constructed forms could meld with the natural and the human’.
- The Pavilion is located in Kensington Gardens, just outside the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington W2 3XA. Nearest tube: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. The gallery is free to enter and is open daily from 10am-6pm. The Pavilion remains open daily until October 20. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website.