Model of an Experiment

architects Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen
project Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016, London, UK
written by Mira Stanić


To call a structure a pavilion means to put it in a sequence of typological and formal experiments which, by occupying the space-time both subtly (thanks to temporariness) and dominantly (thanks to the freedom that transience allows) at the same time, focus on the consideration of the inherent capacity of these fields of architectural experiment to indicate and influence a much wider area than their limited location. The key question necessarily becomes – do these pavilions change anything? The seventeen-year tradition of pavilions at London’s Kensington Gardens has brought varied answers to an unasked question (how far is the scope of a pavilion, the only function of which is to be seen) that vary from convincing visitors from the not too distant future to reminders of the heroic past, rarely managing to overcome the basic paradoxical premise of the client, i.e., the curator – that architecture is art and can be offered as such on the art market. But, in the world of luxury goods, such commodified product functions quite successfully – most of the pavilions from the Serpentine Galleries are now in private hands of anonymous customers.