“It is a really fundamental question how architecture is different from nature, or how architecture could be part of nature, or how they could be merged…what are the boundaries between nature and artificial things.” Sou Fujimoto
Asymmetry, grids, mesh, openwork create a white cloud for this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary structure for the summer in Hyde Park. However Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s talk on his creation was entitled ‘Architecture as forest’, suggesting inspiration from trees rather than clouds.
He described it as “…an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “Art and architecture is always experienced within the context of nature at the Serpentine. Like the park that surrounds the Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’s extraordinary design for our new Pavilion inhabits a space between nature and artificiality. While the structure blends, cloud-like into its natural surroundings, the intricate matrix of interlinking grids suggests a digital aesthetic that resonates with our age.
“My thinking is in dialogue with my hand” the architect said, so I tried a variety of approaches through the sketches above to get at the ‘nature’ of the structure. I stayed outside and at a distance for my first visit and only photographed the pavilion afterwards.