BIG’s Serpentine Pavilion finds home in Vancouver

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) Serpentine Pavilion will soon find a new permanent home in downtown Vancouver. In 2016, developer Westbank sponsored Bjarke Ingels’ design for the Serpentine Pavilion and subsequently purchased the Pavilion, with the intention that it would serve a purpose beyond one exhibition.

The Pavilion created is for an annual commission by the Serpentine Galleries in London. The commission is an opportunity for the greatest architectural talent in the world to express their creativity, by reimagining a traditional space and giving the public access to explore it.  The iconic annual structures reside for four months – from June to October – on the Galleries’ lawn in London’s Kensington Garden.

Ingels’ design, the ‘unzipped wall’, sought to reconcile aspects commonly perceived as opposites, creating a space that is both free-form and structured; modular yet sculptural. The resulting structure transforms from a straight line into three-dimensional space, creating a dramatic undulating form of stacked rectangular frames made out of glass fibre.

The space can be explored and experienced in a variety of ways, inside and outside. The unzipped wall creates a cave-like canyon lit through the fibreglass frames and the gaps between the shifted boxes, as well as through the translucent resin of the fibreglass.

After planned stops in New York and Toronto, the Pavilion will occupy a site adjacent to Wesbank’s office in Shaw Tower. The undulating structure will become part of the pedestrian streetscape, acting as a tunnel connecting the city to the waterfront.

“Westbank has a well established and growing relationship with Bjarke and his team at BIG,” said Ian Gillespie, founder, Westbank. “Purchasing the Pavilion was a very natural extension of that partnership and we want to give Bjarke’s creation the most interesting afterlife of any of the previous pavilions.”


rendering courtesy of BIG

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