Manmade materials meet nature in Junya Ishigami’s 2019 Serpentine Pavilion
Books & Exhibitions
Junya Ishigami has erected a giant slate bird in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park. Designed for the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion, and on until October, the Japanese architect is continuing his conversation with free space philosophy here. This is organic architecture looking to find harmony between manmade elements and those created by nature. The Pavilion design is informed by the humble roof, here constructed through arranging slates to create a single unit that appears to emerge from the ground of the surrounding Kensington Gardens.
Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion is simultaneously delicate and brutal, comical, and visceral. This flowing structure, a bird-like slate canopy, sits on the most slender of columns seemingly too delicate to hold its hefty 60-ton weight. On the day we visit, Hyde Park visitors take refuge from the sudden summer downpours in the pop-up cafe beneath the cool slate structure.
In the architect’s words, ‘a stone creates a landscape, and a landscape usually sits outside of a building. I wanted to create the landscape inside the building, as a theory of the landscape that the stone creates outside… I tried to create this landscape that exists outside, inside the building.’
Ishigami’s is a long-term study of the relationship between structures and landscapes. So, the Serpentine commission, now in its two-decade search to create site-specific public structures that live, breathe and contribute life to Kensington Garden Hyde Park, is a perfect canvas for the architect. Take a look at the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion here.
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