SOU FUJIMOTO’S PAVILION

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Every year during the summer months, against the beautiful backdrop of the Serpentine in Kensington Gardens, a new Pavilion is built by a chosen architect which will stand for several months. Thousands swarm to see the newest installation which is always eagerly anticipated by both members of the public and those in the art world.
This year saw the youngest architect to date, Sou Fujimoto, resurrect his temporary structure in the gardens. At only 41, the award-winning architect Sou Fujimoto’s has had much success worldwide. Fujimoto explores the relationship between nature and architecture and the built environment in which we live in. Past projects include ‘Final Wooden House’ and ‘T House and House N’ in Japan.
Fujimoto’s pavilion was unveiled in early June; it resembles an extremely delicate cloud which hovers in the gardens, much like the heavy mists that hover in English valleys. It also acts as a social space for visitors. Hundreds upon hundreds of carefully designed white grids make up the structure, and polycarbonate discs protect the inside from the unpredictable English weather. The discs lie like fallen leaves from the trees surrounding the pavilion. The form is very organic.
Fujimoto talks of the structure ‘melting’ into the landscape; at different angles the spindly scaffolding is highly visible and then at times it is barely there at all. The complex structure underlines the marked contrast between the sharp artificial shapes and the gentle hazy aura it exudes when seen from a distance.
The Serpentine was originally built as a tea pavilion in 1934, and it wasn’t until 1970 that it became an exhibition space. At the turn of the millennium, the Pavilion programme was introduced, and over the years the classical red brick building has been surrounded by an array of temporary modern structures.
Fujimoto’s pavilion is by far the most fragile and the most subtle of those previously built as part of the programme. Inside the ‘barely there’ space, Fujimoto has designed several terraces and seating with a café for the public and those wanting to enjoy the pavilion.
Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery calls Fujimoto ‘a visionary’ and ‘one of the most fascinating architects in the world today’. He belongs to a generation of architects that seeks to combine the green environment and architecture together, and since his invitation to the Serpentine Pavilion we will undoubtedly see much more of his work in the U.K.

Words by Theodora Barker

IMAGE 1

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013
Designed by Sou Fujimoto
© Sou Fujimoto Architects
Image © 2013 Iwan Baan

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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013
Designed by Sou Fujimoto
© Sou Fujimoto Architects
Image © 2013 Jim Stephenson

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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013
Designed by Sou Fujimoto
Concept Sketch
© Sou Fujimoto Architects