Serpentine Gallery Pavilion opens to reveal theatrical proportions
A gloriously sunny morning today saw the opening of Frank Gehry’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion for 2008. This magnificent structure hosts a space that invites you to sit and enjoy harmonious ambience of light and sound, or to amble and explore every level and angle of the design.
At an impressive height of 16 meters and footprint of 526 sq m, the pavilion is compared to an amphitheatre, for which it has been intended. As you walk through the pavilion, you find tiered seating either side of the central walkway allowing for audiences during the evening entertainment, Park Nights.
A hive of activity is scheduled for the months of July to October including talks, performances, music and film-screenings; a programme conceived by the Serpentine Gallery’s Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects. “The combination of disciplines: art and design, architecture, science, music and literature is mirrored by the dynamic design of the pavilion and the eclectic use of materials," said Obrist.
Inspired by Da Vinci’s catapult, the canopy offers an extraordinary balance between the weight of the wooden and steel beams, the glass of the sails, refracting sunlight across the floor and glinting light from the steel creating a multi-dimensional effect. This also lends well to the excellent acoustics of the structure - having an impressive history of design with music in mind, this was an important factor for Gehry.
Gehry said of his design: “The Pavilion is designed as a wooden timber structure that acts as an urban street running from the park to the existing Gallery. Inside the pavilion, glass canopies are hung from the wooden structure to protect the interior from the wind and rain and provide shade during sunny days. The Pavilion is much like an amphitheatre, designed to serve as a place for live events, music, performance, discussion and debate.”
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and individuals. Gehry’s is the eighth design following the worldwide initiative conceived by the Serpentine Gallery’s Director Julia Peyton-Jones.