Construction starts on 2016 Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses

Construction of the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses has started.

For the first time, the Serpentine Galleries has expanded its annual architecture programme to include four Summer Houses, located a short walk from the Gallery in Kensington Gardens, in addition to the 16th Pavilion on the Gallery lawn.

For the fourth year running AECOM, in collaboration with David Glover, is delivering technical advisory services for the project, including structural engineering, fire engineering, electrical engineering, lighting design and project management. This year AKT II joined the technical team to provide structural engineering services for the main Pavilion’s superstructure, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Construction by Stage One of all five structures takes place over the next five weeks and they will open to the public in June.

The Serpentine Galleries has commissioned four architects for the Summer Houses: Kunlé Adeyemi – NLÉ, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman and Asif Khan. Although all four Summer Houses will be produced from a common brief, the designs vary widely. For the past three months, AECOM and David Glover have been working with each architect to develop their initial concept. They have transformed each of the four architectural visions – whether submitted as sketches, simple physical models or 3D parametric computer models – into digital models to aid the design and production process. AECOM has also used pioneering digital workflows and immersive technologies on the project.

Jon Leach, Director and Technical Practice Group Leader, AECOM, said:

“With five structures across multiple sites, the logistical challenge of constructing this year’s Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses within the tight programme constraints requires a highly collaborative approach. The engineers and technical team play an important role in the creative process, working closely with the architects to transform their designs into functional and buildable spaces without losing sight of their original vision.”

David Glover, CEO, Intelligent Engineering, said:

“The Pavilion and Summer House programme demands an exceptional team that can work with the architects to deliver a project that becomes a platform for the innovative use of materials, design and construction technology. I am sure that you will agree that this year AECOM, AKT II, Stage One, the Serpentine team and five exceptional architectural teams have delivered on this primary objective.”

Hanif Kara, Co-founding Partner, AKT II, said:

“It has been exciting to collaborate with David Glover and AECOM at a strategic level on the Summer Houses, whilst also overseeing the design of the main Pavilion with BIG led by Ricardo Baptista and his team here.”

Ricardo Baptista, Design Director, AKT II, added:

“We are used to complex and experimental designs and the innovative use of materials, like the award-winning UK Pavilion for the Expo 2010 with Thomas Heatherwick and the Coca-Cola Beatbox in 2012 with Asif Khan, but the Serpentine has been a particular challenge – a real notch up. Our long-term working relationship with BIG plus use of bespoke software have been key to the ‘high-speed’ turnaround of a true experiment, with the architect, Fiberline and Stage One working together from the outset. It is a big story the industry could learn from and we look forward to sharing it.”

The Serpentine Pavilion is one of the top ten most-visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world. Each year, the Serpentine Galleries commissions an international architect to design a temporary Pavilion for the Gallery grounds. In line with the criteria for the selection of the Pavilion architect, the architects for the four Summer Houses are yet to build a permanent building in England.

Last year, AECOM provided engineering and technical advisory services for selgascano’s colourful, translucent, chrysalis-like structure. In 2014 the company helped design and deliver Smiljan Radić’s toroidal shell structure and in 2013 it provided engineering and technical design services for Sou Fujimoto’s cloud-like pavilion.