Every year the Serpentine Gallery commissions an Architect to design a pavilion which will sit on its lawn, greeting the hundreds of thousands of people who will visit over the summer months. Temporary pavilions like this are an important chance for architects to test new ideas, and to communicate to the public what architecture is and could be.
Unless you’re in London, you may not get the opportunity to visit the pavilion physically, but thanks to the web we can take you there virtually.
You can interact with any of the virtual scenes below by hitting the 3D button. If you have a Google Cardboard or similar VR device, a small VR button will pop show up when you open the model on mobile.
Above: the parametric version of the pavilion model. Click "full screen" in the bottom right to play with the rules of BIG's Serpentine Pavilion.
Temporary pavilions are a window to the world of architecture
This year’s Serpentine pavilion, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, is a complex sculptural form that can be constructed using simple geometric rules. In detail, the repeated brick geometry embodies the playful spirit of Lego and Minecraft. As a whole, the structure fits together with the calculation and precision of an algorithm.
We modeled the pavilion using web technologies, following simple rules; starting with a brick, reusing the brick to create a wall, "unzipping" the wall so that its base follows a curve. Building a model by defining rules allows us to change the components of the wall, the height of the bricks, and the shape of the curve, in the end generating a new unique Serpentine pavilion without tediously remodeling everything. Modeling this way is powerful; with a few changes we can explore the infinite possibilities of the wall system.
Click above to experiment with different wall models.
Because we’re doing everything in the browser, we can share these explorations in a public virtual space for anyone with a recent device and an internet connection. Being able to share 3D experiences this way, without installation of new software or file downloads, makes web browsers extremely powerful tools for architectural communication.
We encourage you to design the most beautiful wall the Serpentine has ever seen. but be aware; with great power comes great responsibility.
Click above for a non-parametric version of the serpentine model with a virtual tour.