sampbarham November 28, 2012

Taking inspiration from my Stage 3 design project, temporary pavilions are a great and simple way for an Architect or Artist to express his/her design flair using a simple budget and time-scale. The Serpentine Gallery is a particularly good example of this (albeit on a slightly larger scale), drawing some of Architecture’s biggest names to a small patch of London’s Kensington Gardens.

Previous installations include those designed by renowned architects, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry.

The 2007 entry by Prtizker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid

The 2012 entry by the design team that completed the 2008 Bejing Olympic stadium: Herzog & de Meuron

The 2008 entry from legendary architect Frank Gehry

I particularly like Peter Zumthor’s sophisticated and understated “Garden within a Garden” which utilises dappled light and shadow to maximum effect and engages visitors on a more tactile and sensorial plane.

Serpentine Gallery: Peter Zumthor 1

Serpentine Gallery: Peter Zumthor 2

Serpentine Gallery: Peter Zumthor 3

The concept of a pavilion raises a few interesting questions. Part sculpture, part architecture, how far does a pavilion have to go to be labelled one or the other. Is the fact that it’s temporary change whether it’s architecture or not. Can an architect create sculpture and can an artist create architecture?

Considering that over 90% of the world’s architecture isn’t created by architects and that a lot of those buildings will be considered architecture to at least a handful of people, the line probably isn’t that clear cut.

I believe architecture is purpose-designed shelter. (It has to enclose human form, and be useful to someone, somewhere.) For this reason, a hermit’s leaf and branch shack, however temporary, is just as architecture as a four-bedroom semi. These Pavilions are architecture, just as much as any other permanent structure is.

What do you think?