Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 01
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 02
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 03
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 04
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 05
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 06
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2016 07
© Jan Friedlein / AKT II
Serpentine Pavilion 2016 05
© AKT II

Serpentine Pavilion 2016

For the Serpentine Galleries’ annual event in London’s Kensington Gardens, we provided structural engineering services for the design of the superstructure of BIG’s 2016 Serpentine Pavilion, envisioned as an ‘unzipped’ wall of glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP).

The superstructure is formed of two surfaces which begin as separate sinusoidal walls at ground level and rise to merge as a straight, horizontal line at an elevation of 14 m above ground.

The surfaces are formed from a series of 500 mm by 400 mm bricks. The length of each brick is such that it overlaps its neighbours sufficiently enough to create an enclosure, whilst also providing sufficient connection length between adjacent bricks for structural purposes. The transition from two separate halves to a single surface at the apex was achieved by arranging the boxes in alternate chequerboard patterns on either side of the wall, allowing them to merge seamlessly.

Fiberline in Denmark manufactured the GFRP bricks to a new improved mixture to enhance the material’s stiffness, and these were then joined by aluminium connectors and bolts. The bending, compression and shear forces generated by the arching action of the pavilion are transferred between the bricks by push-pull forces in the connecting bolts along the overlapping edges of the boxes. In the longitudinal direction, horizontal wind loads are transferred through a combination of shell and vierendeel action. The bricks step such that people may sit or climb on the lowest rows, so this was considered in the loading.

Our in-house computational research team (p.art) were heavily involved in the design of the structure, creating parametric setting out and structural verification tools, such as our in-house Re.AKT toolkit.

A unique 'unzipped' wall of interlocking bricks in London’s Kensington Gardens

LOCATION
London, UK

CLIENT
Serpentine Galleries

ARCHITECT
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

PROJECT VALUE
n/a

COMPLETION
2016

 

 AWARDS

  • 2017 Civic Trust Award - National Winner
  • 2017 Civic Trust Award - Pro-Tem Special Award