London’s Serpentine Art Gallery has just announced that it has chosen Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto to design its annual summer garden pavilion in 2013. This much sought after commission has been designed in the past by Zaha Hadid (2000), Oscar Niemeyer (2003), Rem Koolhaas/Cecil Balmond/Arup (2006), Frank Gehry (2008), SANAA (2009), and last year by Hertzog & de Meuron with Ai Wei Wei. The Koolhaas inflatable bubble pavilion was the site of constant discussions led by Hans Ulrich Obrist but most are simpler cafes of pure pleasure (the main gallery was originally a tea house) and whimsy like last year’s installation which was made of smoky smelling cork with a pond on its roof which usually had ducks serenely floating in the water.
Rendering of Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. (Courtesy Sou Fujimoto)
Fujimoto’s pavilion will be a cloud-like structure constructed of a lattice of steel poles and is described by Fujimoto in his official press statement:
“For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.
“The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The overall footprint will be 350 square- metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. A series of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space.”
The temporary pavilion will open to the public on June 8, 2013 and will remain in Kensington Gardens until October 20.