The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008 was the first built project in England by legendary architect Frank Gehry. The spectacular structure - designed and engineered in collaboration with Arup - was anchored by four massive steel columns and was comprised of large timber planks and a complex network of overlapping glass planes that created a dramatic, multi-dimensional space.
Gehry and his team took inspiration for this year's Pavilion from a fascinating variety of sources including the elaborate wooden catapults designed by Leonardo da Vinci as well as the striped walls of summer beach huts. Part-amphitheatre, part-promenade, these seemingly random elements make a transformative place for reflection and relaxation by day, and discussion and performance by night.
Frank Gehry said: 'The Pavilion is designed as a wooden timber structure that acts as an urban street running from the park to the existing Gallery. Inside the Pavilion, glass canopies are hung from the wooden structure to protect the interior from wind and rain and provide for shade during sunny days. The Pavilion is much like an amphitheatre, designed to serve as a place for live events, music, performance, discussion and debate. As the visitor walks through the Pavilion they have access to terraced seating on both sides of the urban street. In addition to the terraced seating there are two elevated seating pods, which are accessed around the perimeter of the Pavilion. These pods serve as visual markers enclosing the street and can be used as stages, private viewing platforms and dining areas.'
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director said:
'It is an exciting moment for London. Frank Gehry's visionary Pavilion is remarkable and will be a landmark for the city this summer.'
The Pavilion is the architect's first built structure in England. He collaborated for the first time with his son Samuel Gehry. Since 2001, Peter Rogers, Director of Stanhope, has donated his expertise to all aspects of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions and he continued to play a major role. The Pavilion is a fully accessible public space in the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens, attracting up to 250,000 visitors every Summer and is accompanied by an ambitious programme of public talks and events.
L’articolata struttura, prima opera realizzata da Gehry in Inghilterra, prende forma dalla combinazione di imponenti assi di legno e molteplici pannelli di vetro che sembrano librarsi in aria per poi bloccarsi in diverse angolazioni creando un suggestivo spazio tridimensionale.
“Il Padiglione – spiega l’autore del progetto – consiste in una struttura di legno che funge da percorso urbano attraversando il parco sino alla Galleria. All’interno, coperture vetrate sostenute dai pilastri di legno assicurano protezione da pioggia e vento nonché ombreggiamento nelle giornate particolarmente soleggiate”.
Disegnato come sede di incontri culturali, eventi musicali e teatrali, il padiglione si presenta come un anfiteatro.
Una volta all’interno, il visitatore può sostare su aree terrazzate immaginate su entrambi i lati che si affacciano sulla strada. Per la sosta dei visitatori Gehry ha inoltre immaginato cinque piattaforme sopraelevate, situate lungo il perimetro della struttura, che possono essere utilizzate anche come palcoscenico o aree di ristoro.
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