Since 2000, London’s world-renown Serpentine Gallery has commissioned leading architects to design a summer pavilion on the lawn outside the gallery’s HQ in Kensington Gardens. In 2013, Japan’s Sou Fujimoto is the thirteenth architect (and at 41, the youngest) to accept the invitation to design a temporary structure. His cloud-like steel form is now open to the public until October 2013.

Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion

“It is a really fundamental question how architecture is different from nature, or how architecture could be part of nature, or how they could be merged…what are the boundaries between nature and artificial things.” Sou Fujimoto

Curated by the gallery’s director Julia Peyton-Jones and co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist, this annual commission fuses art and architecture, creating a space in which the public can linger, converse, work, sip coffee and soak in the experience of being within a site-specific piece of contemporary architecture. Past pavilions have included designs by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Frank Gehry (2008), the late Oscar Niemeyer (2003) and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural structure in 2000.

Sou Fujimoto’s cloud-like structure occupies around 350 sqm of lawn in front of the Serpentine Gallery. Constructed from latticed 20mm steel poles, the pavilion appears lightweight and semi-translucent, allowing it to blend into the green summer-autumn landscape of Kensington Gardens. The pavilion is designed to be a flexible social space (with a café hidden inside), encouraging locals and visitors alike to enter and engage with the architecture over its four month installation (June-October 2013).

Sou Fujimoto’s architecture is inspired by organic structures and explore the space between nature and ‘artificiality’. Fujimoto’s projects have mainly focused on residential and institutional projects in Japan, including Final Wooden House, T House and House N, to the institutional, such as the Musashino Art Museum and Library at Musashino Art University.

For more information on the work of Sou Fujimoto, visit his website (in Japanese): www.sou-fujimoto.net. To find out more about the Serpentine Gallery summer pavilions past and present, visit: www.serpentinegallery.org. Feature image (top) is by Ray Tang/Rex Features courtesy the Guardian.

Watch Sou Fujimoto speak about his Serpentine Gallery pavilion in this video by Dezeen:

BACK

Recent Articles

  • A Natural Alliance

    In a time when extraordinary experiences are being promoted by cities, towns and regions as part of a tourist package, the natural environment is under pressure to enhance its existing assets in order to be shared, liked, meme-d and appreciated. Georgia Nowak – via 'Future West (Australian Urbanism)' – looks at how new tourism infrastructure in national parks could support their conservation
  • Helen Wright: Rise and Fall

    Tasmanian artist Helen Wright (the artist featured on the cover of our latest print issue!) is concerned with the uneasy coalition between humans and the natural world. Through her paintings, drawings, prints and the cast sculptures we see a playful yet political reminder of the fragile balances of this relationship. Here, she shares with us some of the thinking behind her multidisciplinary practice
  • STREAT: Goodness in every drop

    Founded in 2009 by scientist-turned-social entrepreneur Bec Scott and her partner Kate Barrelle, STREAT has made a name for itself as a social enterprise that works with homeless and at-risk youth to introduce a sense of belonging through personal and professional development in a hospitality setting. Hudson Brown sits down with Bec to hear the story behind STREAT's success