The garden of the contemplations | Íñigo García Odiaga

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion | Peter Zumthor

The architecture of the pavilions, of the small facilities is in the habit of producing very extreme results, or they generate projects of incalculable value on those who will be debated for years or on the contrary they present noisy failures.

 The ephemeral of these constructions, his symbolic value and the lack of specific uses to sheltering, contribute to the architects a new frame, in which the reflection and the ideas do not find the limits of the daily exercise of the profession and approach more than never to the artistic offer.

The  Serpentine Gallery is a London gallery dedicated to the contemporary art, that every year from 2000 entrust to an architect of prestige the construction of a small pavilion in the garden of the institution. This construction destined to provide an area of stay to the visitors of the center during the summers months, is of ephemeral character and dismounts with the winter arrival. The director of the gallery Julia Peyton-Jones has turned this annual appointment into an international space for the architectural experimentation and after a decade of pavilions realized by some of the most important architects of the world the repercussion of these works generates big debates.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion | Peter Zumthor

The architect born in Basle Peter Zumthor rewarded with the prestigious prize Pritzker in 2009, will be the manager of the witness of Jean Nouvel takes, Sanaa, Rem Koolhaas or Frank Gehry between others.

For the Swiss architect it will be the first building constructed by his office in the United Kingdom and will include a garden created specially by the influential Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.

The idea of the pavilion of this year is it of generating a contemporary hortus conclusus, a closed room opened for the sky, dedicated to the contemplation, an interior garden inside Kensington’s gardens in which the Serpentine Gallery places. The building will act of scene, will be like the backdrop of an interior garden of flowers and light. The hortus conclusus is the typical form of the medieval garden, tied especially to the monasteries and convents. A green space, generally of small dimensions and surrounded by high walls, where the monks were cultivating essentially food and medicinal plants about which there was generated the cloister dedicated to the meditation and the contemplation.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion | Peter Zumthor

The visitors will come to the garden crossing a narrow and dark tunnel, a theatrical solution to extend the cozy and spiritual effect of the central space full of light, an absent-minded place of the world and of the noise of the traffic and the smells of London.

Since the own Zumthor has declared the building “has as aim help the visitors to think the time to relax, to observe and, later, maybe, to start speaking again.”

The project emphasizes the paper that the senses and the emotions play in the experience of the architecture chased by Peter Zumthor. His contemplative spaces that evoke the spiritual dimension of the physical environment, connect this work with others realized by his study during these years as the thermal baths of Waltz, in Switzerland, or the Chapel Bruder Klaus in Mechernich, Germany, both works of reference during the last decade.

High Line in New York, by Piet Oudolf

Piet Oudolf is another important part of this work, out-standing designer of gardens and visible head of the movement Everlasting, it will complement the design of Zumthor’s building with a garden full of color and profusely planted based on the ideology that defends. Oudolf uses the natural architecture of the plants, as the expressiveness of the gramíneas and of the herbaceous everlasting ones, or even bad grasses to create gardens that they evolve in form and color along the life of the plants. His expositions reflected in works as the High Line neoyorkino, the pedestrian restructuring of a former line of meter raised in the city of the skyscrapers, have placed this luck of gardens of natural evolution as the new route to relate architecture and constructed natures.

High Line in New York, by Piet Oudolf

Peter Zumthor who in view of the ascetic, rigorous thing and content of his architecture has defended even in his writings the creation of new atmospheres for the life, will recreate thanks to Piet Oudolf an intense, essential and memorable space.

Definitively a monastic garden for that one that in multiple occasions has been qualified as a monk of the architecture, a new appointment to adding to the tour for London during this summer.

íñigo garcía odiaga. architect

san sebastián. juny 2011

Article is published in ZAZPIKA 05/06/2o11

Íñigo García Odiaga

Arquitecto. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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