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Aluminum

Earth, wind, aluminum

By Lisa Rummler

December 2009- In moments of stress, people often close their eyes and imagine they are somewhere else, often a place with forests, lakes or mountains.

The restorative power of nature, whether real or visualized, trumps nearly any other antidote for fear, frustration or panic, and a walk in the park can do wonders to clear the head and calm frazzled nerves.

Buildings or other structures can detract from this, but sometimes, they actually enhance their natural surroundings.

Such was the case with the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009, designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese architecture firm Sanaa.

"The pavilion is floating aluminum, drifting freely between the trees like smoke," the architects said in a press release. "The reflective canopy undulates across the site, expanding the park and sky. Its appearance changes according to the weather, allowing it to melt into the surroundings. It works as a field of activity with no walls, allowing uninterrupted views across the park and encouraging access from all sides."

In the press release, the pavilion is described as a reflective cloud or floating pool of water that sits on top of a series of delicate columns.

"The metal roof structure varies in height, wrapping itself around the trees in the park, reaching up toward the sky and sweeping down almost to the ground in various places," it stated. "Open and ephemeral in structure, its reflective materials make it sit seamlessly within the natural environment, reflecting both the park and sky around it."

The pavilion opened July 12, and it closed Oct. 18.

Material matters
Stretching over 6,000 sq. ft., the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is made of mirror-polished aluminum. Its tallest section is 11.5 ft, its lowest 3 ft.

According to an article from McGraw-Hill, "While the roof appears to be a continuous surface, it's made up of 10-ft.-by-5-ft.-wide panels whose tongued plywood edges interlock with adjacent panels like a jigsaw puzzle."

The entire roof structure, which is less than 1 in. thick, rest on 112 thin steel rods. Some are hollow tubes 2.36 in. in diameter, and the remainder are 1.57-in.-diameter solid rods.

History lessons
Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery, London, has invited an internationally renowned architect or design team to design a structure that will stand on the gallery's lawn for three months.

Two primary requirements pertain to the pavilion: The architect or group must not have completed a building in England before the Serpentine Gallery's invitation, and the participant has no more than six months to complete the project.

According to the press release, "[It is] the world's first and most ambitious architectural program of its kind that annually gives pre-eminent architects their debut in this country and brings the best of contemporary architecture to London for everyone to enjoy."

The pavilion was sponsored by NetJets Europe, with Arup and Stanhope PLC serving as advisers. Mace Group was the platinum sponsor. FFJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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