In a recent interview Serpentine Gallery director Julia Peyton Jones described the latest Pavilion designed by SelgasCano as “predicated on an idea of poor materials…. picking up on the idea of things as found, accidents as found, materials as found”.
All very interesting as somehow this years pavilion appears more like the beginning of a conversation, a piece of incomplete architecture that perhaps asks more of us as contributors in an ongoing architectural debate than critics of built form.
It appears at first glance to be constructed completely of delicate coloured plastic bags and ribbons, more a collection of urban detritus blown along by the wind than a deliberate act of construction. It’s only when you walk around inside that the delicate steel structure reveals itself.
SelgasCano’s work Peyton Jones explains “has more to do with things developing as they go along and the organic nature of their structure”. Why am I telling you this when better writers than I have already reviewed this pavilion in detail? Well I feel that there is an opportunity to run with a number of issues raised by it’s very existence. Perhaps there is an opportunity to consider, as Peyton jones does, that if this is the best pavilion they have ever commissioned, what are the things that will confound expectations and what might make us think of it in a different way and give us clues about what we will do next year?”
Well I think I have an idea. What if for the next two years architects are commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion working only with material “as found”. In other words they must develop designs working with all the material from this years pavilion and create an entirely new building with new form and programme. I would suggest that they could bring with them some new material, but only to add to the existing resource on site, not to replace or take away. The same thing could happen the following year and perhaps the year after that. Three years of Serpentine Pavilions designed by three different architects accumulating not only material as found, but accidents as found, and giving us clues to the next pavilion. All exactly in the spirit of this years pavilion, a legacy if you like.
This idea picks up on the many wonderful recent projects testing Braungart & McDonough’s concept of ‘Cradle to Cradle’, or perpetual re-use. Just look at Belgium’s Rotor, the USA’s Rural Studio, or our own Carmody Groarke ….. and of course The Brighton Waste House…!