At 41, Sou Fujimoto is the youngest architect to date to receive the prestigious commission to design the gallery's pavilion. “For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways,” said Sou Fujimoto in the press announcement.
The pavilion will occupy 350sqm in front of the Serpentine Gallery and is built from 20mm thick steel poles, giving it a delicate and semi-transparent appearance. It is described as a cloud-like structure, which allows for views through it and across the Kensington Gardens park in which it will be built.
The design is in keeping with Fujimoto’s fascination with organic and transparent structures such as his House N, Oita in Japan - which includes trees within the building - or the recently complete House NA in Tokyo, which resembles a stack of see-through glass cases.
Fujimoto’s response to the site is very different from last year’s pavilion by Herzog & De Meuron and Ai Wei Wei which approached the site as an archeological dig, exploring the site downwards, rather than upwards. Like previous years, the pavilion will function as a social space and also contain a café. It is due to open on 8 June.
The pavilion will be Fujimoto’s first realised building in Europe. Nonetheless, his work has been exhibited extensively internationally and he came to increased prominence at the Venice Architecture Biennale last year, when the Japanese Pavilion won a Golden Lion for Home-For-All: a project realised by Fujimoto together with architects Kumiko Inui, Akihisa Hirata and Toyo Ito and photographer Naoya Hatakeyama.