I’m interested to see the latest Serpentine pavilion, I’m not sure the photo of the garden makes me feel asif the space will be very contemplative…more like a thorny mess…? we’ll see…
full artcile from the Guardian below or here…
Peter Zumthor, Swiss master of meditative, one-off, and highly crafted buildings, has released images of his design for this year’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens. The pavilion, which opens in July and closes in September, will take the form of a contemplative garden courtyard created by the Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, enclosed by a low-key and lightweight timber structure Zumthor plans to wrap and coat with scrim and black paste mixed with sand. Visitors will enter the low-lying pavilion through a number of doors and follow several different paths between outer and inner walls into Zumthor and Oudolf’s secret garden.
The idea underpinning the design is that of a garden of quiet pleasure and ruminative calm set just a couple of minutes from the 24-hour motorised roar of Kensington Gore. “The concept”, says Zumthor, “is thehortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. The building acts as a stage, a backdrop for the interior garden of flowers and light. Through blackness and shadow one enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of London – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves – full of memory and time.”
In practice, it will be interesting to see how the Serpentine Gallery attempts to maintain an aura of floral calm in what, for the past decade and more, has been one of the most popular of the art world’s summer events. With Zumthor offering a marriage of the Serpentine pavilion and the Chelsea flower show, crowds flocking to this nominally tranquil and self-effacing black-clad building may well be larger, and noisier, than usual. Zumthor, however, says his design “aims to help its audience take the time to relax, to observe and then, perhaps, start to talk again.”
As with architects of the previous 10 Serpentine pavilions, Zumthor’s is the architect’s first completed building in England. The series began with Zaha Hadid in 2000 and has included such giants as Oscar Niemeyer, Alvaro Siza, Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry. What makes Zumthor stand out from such famous company is the fact that he tends to design just one carefully considered building at a time. Recently, he turned down an opportunity to consider a new library for Magdalen College, Oxford that most architects would have welcomed like manna from heaven. Like the most beautiful gardens, Zumthor’s architecture is not to be hurried.
Zumthor, born in Basel in 1943, trained as a cabinet-maker before training as an architect. He came to international attention with theexquisite thermal baths he designed in Vals, a village in Switzerland’s Graubünden canton. At once ancient and modern, the atmospheric baths, completed in 1996, form a gently haunting part of the natural landscape. Crafted from layers of local quartzite, they are truly beautiful and sited well away from the summer crowds of Swiss cities.
Since then, Zumthor’s Kunsthaus in Bregenz, Austria, Kolumba Art Museum, Cologne and Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, on a farm near Wachendorf, Germany have added greatly to his reputation. He won the Pritzker prize for architecture in 2009.
Zumthor’s Serpentine pavilion, designed in cooperation with the engineers, Arup, will operate as a public space and as a venue for Park Nights, the gallery’s high-profile programme of public talks and events.
Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery, said: “It is an honour and a great joy to be working with Peter Zumthor on the 11th Serpentine Gallery pavilion. The commission allows us to connect with the best architects in the world and each year is an exciting and completely new experience. Zumthor’s plans will realise an exquisite space for the public to enjoy throughout the summer.”