Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), headed by its namesake Danish designer Bjarke Ingels, unveiled its nearly completed design for this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. The structure, whose renderings were released back in February, is described as an “unzipped wall” by the international firm, whose offices are split between New York and Copenhagen, Denmark. As evidenced by the pictures on social media and press previews, the pavilion is not quite finished. But it will open to the public later this week as part of the gallery’s summer program, which started in 2000.
Situated in London’s Kensington Gardens, one of the English capital’s eight Royal Parks, the main pavilion stands in front of the original Serpentine Gallery, built in 1970. Composed of several hollowed-out fiberglass bricks, the pivoted positioning of the structural components help to achieve the look of it “unzipping” outward, which forms a hall for visitors to walk through. This is the 16th iteration of the architectural program, which have been traditionally carried out by architects who have not yet completed a notable site in the United Kingdom.
Unlike past years, this year's pavilion comes with friends. Four smaller structures have also been revealed. Designed by the firms NLÉ, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, and Asif Khan, each of these Summer Houses is a different architectural interpretation of either the 1734 Neoclassical Queen Caroline’s Temple or a former house, which rotated a full 360-degrees, that no longer exists—both of which were designed by architect William Kent—located in the Royal Park.
Designed by NLÉ, a firm that is based out of Amsterdam and Lagos, Nigeria, this Summer House is an "inverse replica" of the Neoclassical temple, and pays tribute to its robust form.
Rather than look to Queen Caroline's Temple, Berlin- and New York–based firm Barkow Leibinger touched on another structure that formerly stood in the park and rotated to provide panoramic views. The twisted bands emulate the the original contour drawing by architect William Kent.
Parisian architect and megastructure enthusiast Yona Friedman extends his 1950 "La Ville Spatiale" as a "space-chain" structure made of of several metal rings that collectively make up 30 stacked cubes.
London architect Asif Khan wanted to re-create a moment noticed by William Kent when he realized that the Neoclassical architect aligned the temple with the sun's direction in 1683, which was amplified by the nearby lake's reflection.