“I resolved that the structural and technical dimensions of design must never divorce human life from nature”.
- Nature Near, the late essays of Richard Neutra. ( Capra press,1989), Richard Neutra. Edited by William Marlin.
As soon as Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist mentioned us the possibility to design the Serpentine Pavilion, we began to think about the main features that the structure needed to provide and the material that had to define it. Starting with something simple – that this Pavilion was to be built in a Royal Park in London – we asked: what are the local materials that represent London? Which material should be used in a Royal Park? Almost straight away, using this situation and mixing it with more personal interests, we decided that the pavilion would be entirely made of a single material, and transparency would be its motto. We therefore presented a pavilion only made of Plexiglas.
But just as quickly as it came, it went. That first idea collapsed on account of the local regulations, especially the strict fire safety standards, which totally demolished the option of the chosen material. At that instant we woke up, opened our eyes and realized that we were in the same place as ever, doing the same thing as ever, just architecture, real architecture, where there are thousands of restrictions and, as usual at the end of every project, those restrictions are ultimately its real definers.
We were also very much aware that we were working on the pavilion's 15th anniversary, the celebration of what is known as a “crystal” anniversary, and it had to be —without resembling anyone— a kind of tribute to them all, a sort of homage to all the stories told in those architectures.
So we then decided to use all the more strictly architectural tricks —or tools if you wish— that can be handled to accentuate the only concept that we finally wanted to use: pure experience. As a single encompassing concept, we sought a way to experience architecture through its most common, simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, materials, materials, materials ...
And, stumbling along as usual, we finally arrived at this object, the sum of many, this strange pavilion, the sum of many. It partly attracts us, but for the most part makes us restless and intrigued, because it is probably the project with the strongest personality and life of any of the ones we have done so far. That's why we are trying to describe it from a distance, without hiding the many doubts that will only be resolved when we can go in and visit it, like any other visitor. Because in fact it's just that, a question of trying to provide a different experience to all the visitors who go through, something they have never experienced previously in any other building, but at the same time it is also something that encompasses each and every one of the experiences that others have had previously.
Although our secret hope is that those memories are above all about things that were related to something called nature. Because we have never overlooked the fact that we are in a park, Kensington Gardens, and we think this object could be part, at the same time, of the nature that grows there and of the nature is lacking there.
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2015 is designed by Spanish architecture practice SelgasCano.
The pavilion is made of double-skinned polygonal structure wrapped in colorful fluorine-based polymer (ETFE).
Architects José Selgas and Lucía Cano say "we sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements:
structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change surprise, colour and materials".
The architects were inspired not only by the site itself but also by the London underground tunnel system and the movement of the people.
Serpentine Galleries celebrates the 15th anniversary of the world- renowned Pavilion commission.
Stage One is delighted to have manufactured and constructed the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion designed by SelgasCano. This is the seventh consecutive year that Stage One has been involved, beginning in 2009.
The Serpentine Pavilion series provides a great example of the many forms that temporary architecture can take. This year's SelgasCano Pavilion is a striking piece of architecture that takes the form of a colourful chrysalis-like structure. Fabricating and constructing such an extraordinary assembly has required a particularly creative approach.
The steelwork frame expresses complex geometric form and required a high degree of technical skill to manufacture. As always, the Serpentine challenge is to deliver elegant design intent within very compressed timescales. This is a landscape Stage One knows well.
This is the second pavilion that Stage One has delivered in recent months. The company was appointed as main contractor to the UK Pavilion at the Milan Expo, which opened to high acclaim in May this year.
Tim Leigh, Sales & Marketing Director said "We continue to be astonished at the rich variety of architecture that the Serpentine Pavilion presents each year. The SelgasCano scheme is a playful yet intricate structure that we have thoroughly enjoyed creating. It plays to our strengths as creative and innovative makers."
The 2015 Serpentine Pavilion opened on 25 June in London’s Kensington Gardens.
Serpentine Galleries celebrates the 15th anniversary of the world-renowned Pavilion commission with a design by Spanish architects selgascano.
Since it was launched in 2000 by Gallery Director Julia Peyton-Jones, the Serpentine Pavilion has become an international site for architectural experimentation, presenting inspirational temporary structures by some of the world's greatest architects, including Peter Zumthor, 2011; Frank Gehry, 2008; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001 and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural Pavilion in 2000. A much-anticipated landmark in London each summer, the Pavilion is one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world.
selgascano’s design for the 15th Pavilion, sponsored by Goldman Sachs, reveals an amorphous, double-skinned, polygonal structure consisting of panels of a translucent, multi-coloured fluorine-based polymer (ETFE) woven through and wrapped like webbing. Visitors can enter and exit the Pavilion at a number of different points, passing through a ‘secret corridor’ between the outer and inner layer of the structure and into the Pavilion’s colourful interior. The architects’ inspiration not only came from the site itself, but from the ways in which people move through London, notably the London Underground with its many-layered, chaotic yet structured flow.
Serpentine Galleries’ Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist said:
“We are proud to work with selgascano in this, the 15th year of a commission unique in the western world that continues to showcase some of the boldest and innovative designs in contemporary architecture internationally. In keeping with their reputation for playful designs and bold use of colour, selgascano’s design is an extraordinary chrysalis-like structure, as organic as the surrounding gardens. It is a place for people to meet in, to have coffee and to experience the live events we put on throughout the summer.”
selgascano, architects of the 15th Serpentine Pavilion said:
“When the Serpentine invited us to design the Pavilion, we began to think about what the structure needed to provide and what materials should be used in a Royal Park in London. These questions, mixed with our own architectural interests and the knowledge that the design needs to connect with nature and feel part of the landscape, provided us with a concept based on pure visitor experience. We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials. We have therefore designed a Pavilion which incorporates all of these elements. The spatial qualities of the Pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it. Each entrance allows for a specific journey through the space, characterised by colour, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. This is accomplished by creating a double-layered shell, made of opaque and translucent fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) in a variety of colours.
At the heart of the Pavilion is an open space for gathering as well as a café. We are also very much aware of the Pavilion’s anniversary in our design for the 15th annual commission. The structure therefore had to be – without resembling previous Pavilions – a tribute to them all and a homage to all the stories told within those designs.”
As a long-time supporter of the arts, both in terms of championing emerging talent and investing in works of art for its Piccadilly home, Fortnum & Mason is basing themselves within the Pavilion providing a fun and artisanal twist on alfresco dining. The signature Hamperling will be available – the brand’s portable answer to the classic afternoon tea. From the Fortnum’s Ice Cream Cart, visitors will enjoy scoops and the Knickerbocker Glory, the brand made so famous. Tea will be served from the Fortnum & Mason Tea Tuk, with light bites and even treats for canine guests.
On Friday evenings, between July and September, the Pavilion will once again become the stage for the Serpentine’s Park Nights series of live events, sponsored for the third year by COS. The events bring together art, poetry, music, film, literature and theory and include three new major commissions by artists Jesse Darling, Fleur Melbourn and Marianna Simnett.
The Serpentine is delighted that Goldman Sachs is the headline sponsor of this year’s Pavilion. AECOM, in collaboration with David Glover, will again provide engineering and technical design services. While this is the third Serpentine Pavilion for AECOM, David Glover has worked on the majority of Pavilion designs to date.
Michael Sherwood and Richard Gnodde, Co-Chief Executive Officers, Goldman Sachs International said: “London is one of the world’s leading financial and cultural centres and we believe that projects like the Pavilion encourage and inspire the exchange of ideas and perspectives across generations, reflecting the important role that businesses can play in supporting art and culture in the UK. ”
Tom Webster, UK Associate Director, Structures, AECOM said:
“We had to push engineering innovation to its limits to achieve the architects’ goal of movement and lightness. Our minimalist steel frame provides the canvas for the colourful cladding to deform and deflect within a dynamic structure. This juxtaposition of weightlessness and solidity is just one of the building’s inherent contrasts. The Serpentine Pavilion commission is famous for pushing boundaries in architectural design and as engineers we must match this creativity. Our role is to solve technical challenges to transform vision into reality.”