14th Serpentine Pavilion

Here are some photos from the 14th Serpentine Pavilion by the Chilean architect Similjan Radić. My initial curiosity towards the pavilion was due to its immediate resemblance to Kiesler's Endless House, which by the way was envisioned about 50 years ago! Despite using contemporary materials such as fiberglass along with other technological components such as led lighting strips, the pavilion design seems to favor juxtaposition an over hands on engagement with contemporary discourse. Consequently, it finds a welcomed home in the English landscape where fascination with ruins and rubble continue to rein: http://venicebiennale.britishcouncil.org/ However, upon visiting the pavilion with such low expectations, I found myself quite engaged with the basic – or should I say ‘fundamental’ J - spatial qualities of the design. What I thought as a cocoon or an egg like fiberglass shell turned out to be a donut with multiple ‘cracked’ openings that create multi-layered, deep perceptions through various internal and external areas. One can peek back in to the café area through these openings while enjoying the shaded space underneath the main deck next to big rough stone blocks on which the main volume stands. The fiberglass form is self-structured as a shell for the most part except few support points near the openings with highly distinctive columns. The LED light strip inside similarly stands out from the rest of the design but somehow works; again it is engaging and playful. The designer’s hand is evident whether one likes the language or not. Despite looking like an archaic folly that has been there forever, I enjoyed the pavilion alright as a temporary structure.

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Haydar Aliyev Cultural Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects new building in Baku, Azerbaijan is one unique project in every possible way. Designed to meet the governments cultural ambitions in the region, the building had the full support of its client. Flows that start on the ground sweep up the entire height of the building massing on the outside without any disruptions. Inside -similarly- one's gaze shoots up the vast, dynamic space in front of the terraced floor slabs that are for the gallery space. The main auditorium's seating, balcony, acoustic panels and lighting are all integrated into a single system of strips that morph into the floor, walls, ceiling and the balustrade. The craft of the wooden strip cladding of the whole interior surface of the auditorium is highly impressive - kudos to the Turkish contractors as well ! :)

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Serpentine Sackler Gallery by Zaha Hadid Architects

The new Serpentine extension is the office's first predominantly tensile structure realised. The steel outer ring surrounding the space waves down to the ground for support and up in the air for openings. Inside, the 'scoop' columns bring natural light in and hold the high point of the tensile fabric. The double layered fabric stretches effortlessly in its naturally found form creating a dynamic, playful roof/ceiling scape.

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Battersea Power Station

The iconic Battersea Station was open to public for London Open House last weekend. Although there is not much too see in or around the massive structure still standing, it was a good chance to get a feel of this old icon before it gets fully developed into a mix use per Rafael Vinoly Architects Masterplan.

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Parking Garage by Paul Rudolph

Paul Rudolph's parking structure completed in 1963 spans two full blocks bridging over George st. It's meant to connect I-95 directly into the city centre. Curvilinear details of the formwork for the concrete renders a unified exterior reading with peculiar reveal details at the sidewalls. The interior with switching half floors strike a more typical Rudolph feel with extended views through their gaps.

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