Now in its 16th year the annual pavilion at London’s Serpentine Galleries - which recently hosted the glittering World Superyacht Awards judge's dinner - has become a key cultural highlight of the summer season, not least because it’s opening party is one of the capital’s starriest events.
Designed for 2016 by Bjarke Ingels Group – a design studio based between Copenhagen and New York – the pavilion is described by its creators as an ‘unzipped wall’ which transforms a straight line into a three-dimensional space.
The unusual and dramatic structure houses a café and offers free family activities by day. At night it transforms into a venue for the Serpentine’s much lauded Park Nights series of workshops, performances and exhibitions by artists, writers and musicians including Sondra Perry, Silas Reiner and Implicated Theatre.
This year the Serpentine has expanded its architecture programme for the first time to include four Summer Houses designed by international architects and sponsored by Northacre. In line with the programme's remit to bring contemporary architecture to a wider audience each designer - Kunlé Adeyemi, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman and Asif Khan – hails from outside Britain and has never completed a permanent structure in the UK.
Each of the Summer Houses is inspired by the 18th Century Queen Caroline’s Temple but the four resulting designs are wildly different – including modular designs, inverse replicas of the original William Kent design and structures created around the light and views of Kensington Gardens.
“As you can see from the architect’s renders, Bjarke Ingels has responded to the brief for a multi-purpose pavilion with a supremely elegant structure that is both curvaceous wall and soaring spire,” said Julia Peyton-Jones, Serpentine Galleries director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director.
“The response to design a Summer House inspired by the 18th Century Queen Caroline’s Temple by our four international architects has been equally inspired and has produced four unique spaces for visitors to explore this summer.“
“I am delighted that with the Serpentine’s exhibition of architecture, Northacre will be supporting the work of international architects, whose work has never before been seen in London," said Orlando Rodriguez, design director of Northacre. "The designs are really exciting and we are confident that the Summer Houses exhibition will attract a huge amount of interest from a public whose appetite for architectural innovation seems to be growing.”
The Serpentine Pavilions and Summer Houses are open from June 10 – October 9, 2016. Visit serpentinegalleries.orgfor more information.