This year’s Serpentine pavilion was joined by ‘folies’ called ‘Summer Houses’ and designed by four architects.
We went to see them in London’s Kensington Gardens besides the Queen Caroline’s temple built by William Kent in 1734.
Kunlé Adeyemi’s Summer House is a reinterpretation of the Temple sitting behind it. The volumes are rearranged and inverted to form a new object inspired by the neo-classical plans and architectural elements present in the temple. Some blocks are scattered around reinforcing the study aspect of architecture.
Barkow Leibinger’s pavilion is a beautiful undulating timber structure designed like a piece of carpentry with canopies offering shade. Visitors can sit and pause for respite around a ‘tree’ like structure to enjoy the twirling ribbon as well as the panoramic views of the surroundings.
Asif Khan’s design looks like a giant whale’s rib cage growing out of the grass. The curves and shadows it creates have been placed to represent the sunlight analysis that was applied by the architect who built Queen Caroline’s temple. While going through the house different viewpoints on to the surrounding areas are revealed to visitors.
Yona Friedman’s project is a pile of rusted metal frames arranged to form a sort of utopist cityscape clad with abstract artworks at the bottom with sparse metal nets. The rationale seems a bit far-fetched but the height of the light structure lends itself to some interesting shapes.
A short distance from Kensington Garden’s there is an installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s courtyard.
The Elytra Filament Pavilion was commissioned to mark the beginning of the engineering season at the V&A and invites visitors to engage with innovation and technology in engineering.
The courtyard installation is a unique experience developed by architects and engineers from the University of Stuttgart and questions how buildings could be built in the near future.
The result is a strong and light canopy inspired by the forewing shells of beetles called ‘Elytra’. It is made of repeated units, fabricated individually by robots with glass and carbon fibres on-site.
The configuration of the structure evolves during the week according to the movements of visitors through sensors and seems to echo the flexibility of engineering and its infinite possibilities…