Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has been named as the thirteenth architect of the temporary Pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery. At 41 he is also the youngest to accept this prestigious invitation to design what is seen as one of the most anticipated structures in the cultural calendar.
Fujimoto is one of an increasing number of architects who, inspired by our interaction with the built environment, connect nature with the man-made to create a unique meeting of the two.
The Pavilion in front of the Serpentine Gallery will be formed using a latticed structure of 20mm steel poles and will have a lightweight appearance. The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will create 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 Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.
Sou Fujimoto says:
“For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two”.
The overall footprint will be 350 square-metres, incorporating two entrances. It will house a Café and a series of stepped terraces, providing seating areas and allowing it to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space. It will simultaneously protect visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape.
The Pavilion is open 8 June – 20 October 2013 at Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA. 0207402 6075 www.serpentinegallery.org
Fujimoto has completed the majority of his buildings in Japan. Projects include House NA, a transparent, multi-layered house in Tokyo, which the architect likens to “living within a tree” – also The Final Wooden House, a small, primitive structure in a rural setting, made from stacked blocks of cedar, in which people discover new ways of using the space “like an amorphous landscape”. These two buildings are featured below.