Serpentine Pavilion 2016

Serpentine Pavilion 2016

Pavilions
London, United Kingdom - Build completed in 2016
© Iwan Baan

Serpentine Pavilion 2016

BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group as Architects

For the Serpentine Pavilion 2016, we have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites: a structure that is free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both box and blob. We decided to work with one of the most basic elements of architecture: the brick wall. Rather than clay bricks or stone blocks – the wall is erected from extruded fiberglass frames stacked on top of each other. The wall is pulled apart to form a cavity within it, to house the events of the Pavilion’s programme. The unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into a space. A complex three-dimensional environment is created that can be explored and experienced in a variety of ways: inside and outside. At the top, the wall appears like a straight line, while the bottom of it forms a sheltered valley at the entrance of the Pavilion and an undulating hillside towards the park.


The unzipped wall creates a cave-like canyon lit through the fiberglass frames and the gaps between the shifted boxes as well as through the translucent resin of the fiberglass. As a result, the shifting overlaps as well as the movement and presence of people outside create a lively play of light and shadow on the cave walls within.


The materials include wooden floors and extruded Lay Light by Fiberline profiles, providing every surface with a warm glow and linear texture – from the mesh of woven glass fibers to the undulating lines of the grain of the wood.


This simple manipulation of the archetypical space-defining garden wall creates a presence in the Park that changes as you move around it and through it. The North-South elevation of the Pavilion is a perfect rectangle. The East-West elevation is an undulating sculptural silhouette. Towards the East-West, the Pavilion is completely opaque and material. Towards the North-South, it is entirely transparent and practically immaterial. As a result, presence becomes absence, orthogonal becomes curvilinear, structure becomes gesture and box becomes blob.


3-Mar-2016 For the Serpentine Pavilion 2016, we have attempted to design a structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites: a structure that is free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both solid box and blob. We decided to work with one of the most basic elements of architecture: the brick wall. Rather than clay bricks or stone blocks, the wall is erected from extruded fibreglass frames stacked on top of each other. The wall is then pulled apart to form a cavity within it, to house the events of the Pavilion’s programme. This unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into a space. A complex three-dimensional environment is created which can be explored and experienced in a variety of ways, inside and outside. At the top, the wall appears like a straight line, while the bottom, it forms a sheltered valley at the entrance of the Pavilion and an undulating hillside towards the Park.

Unzipped Wall

Serpentine Gallery as Client

The Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is an ‘unzipped wall’ that is transformed from straight line to three-dimensional space, creating a dramatic structure that by day houses a café and free family activities and by night becomes a space for the Serpentine’s acclaimed Park Nights programme of performative works by artists, writers and musicians. Kunlé Adeyemi’s Summer House is an inverse replica of Queen Caroline’s Temple - a tribute to its robust form, space and material, recomposed into a new sculptural object. Barkow Leibinger were inspired by another, now extinct, 18th Century pavilion also designed by William Kent, which rotated and offered 360 degree views of the Park. Yona Friedman’s Summer House takes the form of a modular structure that can be assembled and disassembled in different formations and builds upon the architect’s pioneering project La Ville Spatiale (Spatial City) begun in the late 1950s. Asif Khan’s design is inspired by the fact that Queen Caroline’s Temple was positioned in a way that it would allow it to catch the sunlight from The Serpentine lake.

A fascination with fibres

Lay Light by Fiberline as Glass fibre facade

The creation of the spectacular Serpentine Pavilion 2016 is the result of productive collaboration between a leading contemporary architect and the manufacturers of an innovative new material that builds a bridge between aesthetics and function.


Lay Light is a translucent composite that allows light to pass through the layers of glass fibres that make up its structure. It is also the material that has been used to build this year's Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London. Discussing the choice of Fiberline's Lay Light for this year's Serpentine pavilion, architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group comments:


"We have long been excited about the properties of Lay Light, which we know from previous projects such as the Transitlager in Basel, our own company offices, and also a furniture system that we developed jointly with Fiberline for which Lay Light's extreme strength and low weight are ideal."


"Commissioned with the prestigious task of designing Serpentine Pavilion 2016, which spans the divide between both building and furniture, and having less than six months to do the concept, design, planning and construction, it was logical that we should join forces with some of our existing partners. The pavilion was conceived as a cellular brick wall that had been opened up – unzipped – to create a sculptural space. In this context all Lay Light's positive attributes found absolute relevance."


At Fiberline Composites we are proud to be so deeply involved with the celebrated Serpentine Pavilion. Stig Krogh Pedersen, Fiberline's VP of Window & Façade profiles, comments:


"We are honoured to be a part of this year's Serpentine exhibition, and we are delighted that BIG have chosen our Lay Light product for such an exciting construction as the 2016 pavilion. This represents a unique opportunity to showcase the aesthetic and constructional possibilities of the material for architects all over the world.”


SERPENTINE PAVILION 2016

Dinesen as Wood flooring

Dinesen is part of BIG’s celebration of architecture in this year’s Serpentine Pavilion in London, a creation to be explored and experienced from all angles in a stunning meeting between fiberglass and tree.


There are many reasons to visit London. One of them is the recurring architectural summer exhibition in Kensington Gardens. The philosophy of the Serpentine Galleries is to introduce contemporary international architecture to a wider audience in the built form in stunning green surroundings instead of using models and drawings in a more traditional setting.


Acclaimed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (Bjarke Ingels Group/BIG) is the latest addition to a number of prominent names commissioned to design the prestigious annual Serpentine Pavilion – from Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry to Japanese Sanaa – and it is a unique opportunity to experience the work and visions of an architect that has never completed a permanent structure in the UK.


A complex space


The exhibition runs from 10 June to 9 October 2016 and is expected to draw more than 500 000 visitors across Kensington Gardens to visit the pavilion, a structure created to be explored both from the inside and outside. BIG decided to work with a basic element in architecture: the brick wall. It is erected from extruded fiberglass frames, unzipped as if there was a zip in the centre of the wall and thus transformed into a complex three-dimensional, cave-like space.


More than 300 m2 of Douglas planks from Dinesen add to the architectural experience of the dramatic, yet elegant monument. The pleasant feeling inside the pavilion is enhanced by the wooden floors and furniture made of Douglas fir, providing every surface with a warm glow and linear texture.


Other collaborators apart from Dinesen are Fiberline Composites, Sapa Extrusions Denmark and Akt II.


The pavilion is placed in the green surroundings of Kensington Gardens. Photo: Iwan Baan.

A minimalist lighting design for Serpentine Pavilion 2016

Zumtobel Lighting Gmbh as Lighting

The 2016 edition of the Serpentine Pavilion is a 14 metre high complex sculptural structure designed by Copenhagen/NYC based architecture firm BjarkeIngels Group (BIG). As daylight fades, the pavilion is enhanced by specialist lighting from acdc Lighting, a brand of Zumtobel Group, tapering away softly from the bottom up to reveal the beautiful undulating form. The design delivers the light levels required for functional use of the space, while keeping the visual presence of the lighting equipment to an absolute minimum.


For many years, Zumtobel has been a sponsor of the Serpentine Pavilion. They are long-term partners of the Serpentine Gallery and also BIG, based in Copenhagen, New York and recently in London, who is a part of their network of international architects. Having joined the Zumtobel Group in 2015, the lighting solution for this year is provided by a Zumtobel’s sister brand, U.K. based acdc Lighting.

BIG’s Serpentine Pavilion takes the form of a wall created from stacked, open-ended rectangular boxes. The wall appears ‘unzipped’ to form two sinuous strands that bulge apart to form a central cavity. It is a fascinating three-dimensional environment, featuring many apparent dichotomies that allow the space to be experienced in many ways. Fabricated from pale green toned translucent fiberglass, it appears linear and yet curvaceous, modular and yet sculptural, and substantial yet insubstantial, depending on the vantage point. As the sun tracks across the sky it creates dynamic shadow play, with the movement of people adding to the beguiling optical effects.


Inside, the Pavilion hosts a café and a bar, with bench seating at the perimeter to facilitate daytime activities and the Serpentine Park Nights programme, an annual series of live events by artists, writers and musicians.For the night time image BIG envisioned a glow from the base, the light grazing up the walls to emphasise the curvaceous textural form, and then gradually fading out to dissolve the structure into the dark sky. To preserve the purity of the lines, BIG requested all lighting equipment to be concealed – ideally positioned on the floor behind the perimeter seating.


Lighting approach remains faithful to the BIG’svision

The Zumtobel Group’s lighting approach remains faithful to the vision, while meeting the practical and technical requirements for the space. As local advisors to the Serpentine Gallery, multi-disciplinary firm Aecom provided the technical brief for the lighting. A minimum of 100 lux was required on the floor and 200 lux on the bar, with an average of 10 lux on a clearly designated exit route needed for emergencies.


The Zumtobel team in Dornbirn produced several simulations and calculations to clearly define their design challenge. Material samples of the cubes were measured to evaluate how light would interact with fiberglass material. The transmission proved to be less than 5% for the base layers. This meant that there would not be enough light passing through the cubes to create the external ‘glow’ that BIG envisioned. In addition, the open cellular nature of the structure naturally reduced the amount of reflected light back onto the concourse and bar, while the inward sloping physical form increased the likelihood of glare affecting visitors. Following trials of several different arrangements of floodlight locations and optics it was clear the vision could not be achieved by uplighting alone.


In consultation with BIG it was agreed that some supplementary high level lighting was necessary. The challenge evolved into determining the best possible combination of equipment and design that would limit the visual impact of this on the structure.


acdc PLAZA solution creating the “glowing effect” of the Pavilion

The final solution uses acdc PLAZA fittings in two sizes with 3000K warm white LEDs. PLAZA 20 fittings with elliptical and wide beam angles are distributed at the perimeter behind the bench seating. The elliptical beam helps to create an even wash on the structure while limiting glare. The wide beam uplights are positioned to point back outwards towards the structure to smooth and extend the effect. These also provide light to the inside faces of the cubes, which creates the illusion that the Pavilion is glowing when viewed externally.


The careful design of the uplighting achieves 70 lux on the concourse, and is boosted by a series of acdc PLAZA 10 spotlights mounted at 4.3m. Eight of these provide the required supplementary general lighting and concentrated extra light on the bar. These are maintained in emergency, to which a further 5 pieces are added to achieve the required 10 lux and boosting the levels at the exits. The scheme is competed by 25 low level PLAZA 10 spots beneath the bench seating that boost light at the perimeter.


The acdc PLAZA features an IP66 protection level making it suited to the non-permanent open structure. It is also ultra-compact, low powered and is available with a wide range of optics and accessories.The PLAZA 10 used at high level measures a tiny 100mm x 138mm for a truly minimal presence, yet delivers a punchy 731 lms while consuming only 10w of power. The wide selection of beam angles and distributions available with the acdc PLAZA 20 was essential to customising the design to suit the complex geometry as well as taking care of the comfort of visitors. The lockable bracket with marked angle increments was also invaluable for onsite focusing and adjustments, ensuring that once commissioned the lighting would remain fixed in place.


The lighting enhances the geometry of the structure

The final result of the lighting approach is striking. In line with BIG’s vision, the lighting enhances the sculptural nature of the Pavilion beautifully, while providing the necessary functional light to create a safe and pleasurable visitor experience.


Maria Sole Bravo, Senior Designer, BIG commented:

“It was important for us that the lighting at night would enhance the geometry of the structure and be coherent with the perception of the pavilion during day time. The fibreglass boxes become thinner higher up in the building, making the structure lighter and more translucent. Following that same expression, the lighting from the ground makes the lower boxes brighter and allows the top of the structure dissolve in the darkness. Zumtobel and acdc’s installation achieved that effect successfully by carefully placing and orienting each one of the luminaires.”


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