The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 is designed by multi award-winning Japanese architectSou Fujimoto. He is the thirteenth and, at 41, the youngest architect to accept the invitation to
design a temporary structure for the Serpentine Gallery. The most ambitious architecturalprogramme of its kind worldwide, the Serpentine’s annual Pavilion commission is one of the mostanticipated events on the cultural calendar.
Past Pavilions have included designs by Herzog & deMeuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Frank Gehry (2008), Oscar Niemeyer (2003) and Zaha Hadid, whodesigned the inaugural structure in 2000.Widely acknowledged as one of the most important architects coming to prominence worldwide,Sou Fujimoto is the leading light of an exciting generation of architects who are re-inventing ourrelationship with the built environment.
Inspired by organic structures, such as the forest,Fujimoto’s signature buildings inhabit a space between nature and artificiality. Fujimoto hascompleted the majority of his buildings in Japan, with commissions ranging from the domestic,such as Final Wooden House, T House and House N, to the institutional, such as the Musashino ArtMuseum and Library at Musashino Art University.Occupying some 357 square-metres of lawn in front of the Serpentine Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’sdelicate, latticed structure of 20mm steel poles has a lightweight and semi-transparent appearancethat allows it to blend, cloud-like, into the landscape against the classical backdrop of the Gallery’scolonnaded East wing.
Designed as a flexible, multi-purpose social space – with a café run for thefirst time by Fortnum and Mason inside – visitors will be encouraged to enter and interact with thePavilion in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in London’s Kensington Gardens.Fujimoto is the third Japanese architect to accept the invitation to design the Serpentine GalleryPavilion, following Pritzker Prize winners Toyo Ito in 2002 and Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa ofSANAA in 2009.AECOM have provided engineering and technical design services for the Pavilion for 2013.
DavidGlover, AECOM’s global chief executive for building engineering, has worked on the designs ofmany previous Pavilions.Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery,said:“Art and architecture is always experienced within the context of nature at the Serpentine. Like thepark that surrounds the Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’s extraordinary design for our new Pavilion inhabitsa space between nature and artificiality.
While the structure blends, cloud-like into its naturalsurroundings, the intricate matrix of interlinking grids suggests a digital aesthetic that resonateswith our age. This harmonious combination of architecture, technology and nature makes it theperfect landmark for the Serpentine Gallery, for Kensington Gardens and for London this summer.We are thrilled with the result and hope everyone who can, will come and see it.”Describing his design concept, Sou Fujimoto said:“For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encouragespeople to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways.
Within the pastoral context ofKensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven togetherwith a constructed geometry. A new form of environment has been created, where the natural andthe man-made merge; not solely architectural or solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.The Pavilion is a delicate, three-dimensional structure; each unit comprises fine steel bars of 800and 400 mm rectangles.
It will form a semi-transparent, irregular canopy, simultaneously
protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. Thefootprint of the structure will be 350 square-metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. Aseries of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as aflexible, multi-purpose social space.The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will create a geometric,cloud-like form, as if it were mist rising from the undulations of the park.
From certain vantagepoints, the Pavilion will appear to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, withvisitors suspended in space.” .