Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

London
Sabic

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013, located in the Hyde Park in the heart of London, is designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. He is the thirteenth, youngest architect to accept the invita- tion to design a temporary structure for the Serpentine Gallery. The most ambitious architectural programme of its kind worldwide, the Serpentine’s annual Pavilion commission is one of the most anticipated events on the cultural calendar.
The aim of the architect was to create a semi-transparent, irregular canopy, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, has created a geometric, cloud-like form, as if it were mist rising from the undulations of the park. From certain vantage points, the Pavilion will appear to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.
Polycarbonate sheet used in the project were cut in to circles and semi-circles of different diameters, and used together with fine steel bars to form the envelope of the structure. The lightweight nature of the PC sheets allowed for minimal framework construction, optimizing the enclosed area for seating, standing and contem- plating. Complying with the necessary building fire and safety regulations, polycarbonate was a natural choice. The clarity of PC sheets as a roofing material in this application creates a space where the occupant has protection from other elements without feeling enclosed and is able to enjoy the green space of Hyde Park, set within the expansive urban environment that London is.
Easy to form and versatile, PC sheets enabled the fabricator to cut intricate shapes, and allowed the architect to create the cloud-like design. All materials used in the Pavilion had to be proven as sustainable. PC sheets employed in the project are long lasting, weather resistant and are highly desirable for recycling into second life applications. As a temporary structure, one of the critical needs for material selection is that it can be re- used or recycled. At the end of the visitor season, the pavilion will be deconstructed, sold on (either as a whole, or in part), so every constituent element must be reusable or recyclable – polycarbonate definitely meets this criteria.