Architectural Pavilions Grace London's Parks and Squares

pavilion serpentine photo

Image from the Guardian

Each summer for the past nine years, the Serpentine Gallery commissions a different architecture firm to design a pavilion on the adjacent park lands. It serves as an inspirational place to hang out, hear lectures and have a drink.

This year's is designed by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese architecture practice SANAA. They describe it as "floating aluminum, drifting freely between the trees like smoke."

serpentine bldg photo

Image from AJ

It resembles a cloud sitting on delicate columns. Amoeba-shaped, it is made of aluminum-faced plywood, held up by stainless steel tubes, the roof does look like it is floating, in amidst the trees. The roof has different levels, from a high point of 20 feet covering the event space to a low of waist height. It is a very open and light-filled structure which will be wonderful in good weather and sheer misery in the English driving rain. The pavilion is up for the summer and then in October it is taken down and sold, usually for use on a private estate.


Image from dezeen

This "Driftwood Pavilion" is also called a pavilion but we are not sure why.... A pavilion is defined as "a light, sometimes ornamental roofed structure" and this one doesn't have any roof or seating for that matter. But it does look stunning.

Designed by graduating architecture students from the prestigious AA (Architectural Association), it is built from plywood spruce provided by a Finnish timber merchant. The cladding consists of 28 layers of 4mm thick plywood. The architectural student designers say that the flowing, computer-aided sculpture is inspired by Britain's relationship with the ocean. But it must also be influenced byZaha Hadid who is a graduate of the Architectural Association.

The school describes it as "neither art nor architecture, science nor ecological adventure, but a sculptural installation and prototype that defies classification". We'd call it a fascinating experiment with pressed bent wood but wonder what the architectural association could be.

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