Architect: Yona Friedman

Serpentine Galleries Summer House

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This spectacular Summer House by Yona Friedman is one of four unique structures designed for the Serpentine Galleries, as part of their summer architectural commission. It is being exhibited in Kensington Gardens until 9th October, at which point it will be de-installed and delivered to its new home. This is an exciting opportunity to purchase a one-off piece of art-meets-architecture.

About the Serpentine Architecture Programme

Every summer since the year 2000, the Serpentine Galleries have invited an internationally renowned architect to create their first built structure in England. The annual Pavilion has become a highlight of the cultural calendar, and is one of the ten most-visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world. Oscar Niemeyer, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry are among the architects who have contributed previously. The 2016 Pavilion has been designed by Bjarke Ingels, to significant critical and public acclaim.

This year, the commission has been extended to include four Summer Houses. Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, Berlin studio Barkow Leibinger, Paris-based architect Yona Friedman and British architect Asif Khan have each created an architectural folly to accompany the main pavilion.

These structures have been designed in response to an 18th-century Neoclassical summerhouse – named Queen Caroline’s Temple – that is located in Kensington Gardens.

The Serpentine does not charge admission and must raise funds to realise the Pavilion and Summer Houses through sponsorship, help-in-kind support and the sale of the structures to make the scheme a reality.

Statement by Yona Friedman

The proposed Summer House builds upon my project La Ville Spatiale (Spatial City) begun in the late 1950s. The manifesto for this project, published in 1959, was based on two pillars or principles: firstly, a mobile architecture that could create an elevated city space and enable the growth of cities while restraining the use of land; secondly, the use of modular structures to allow people to live in housing of their own design.

The Serpentine Summer House is a ‘space-chain’ structure that constitutes a fragment of a larger grid structure, originally conceived for La Ville Spatiale. This original structure, designed for bearing light loads, consists of 30 cubes measuring 1.80 x 1.80 x 1.80 m3, built with metal rings of 1.80 m in diameter and assembled into a skeleton. Some of the cubic voids are enclosed with panels of polycarbonate.

The Summer House is a space-chain construction of 4+1 levels. It is composed of cubes defined by 6 circles of 1.85 metre in diameter and made with steel tubes of 16 mm in diameter. The cubes are composed into irregular geometrical shapes that rest on the ground.

The Summer House is a modular structure that can be disassembled and assembled in different formations and compositions. In this particular case, it is only the ground level that is accessible to visitors. But with slight technical changes, such as adjusting some of its constituting elements, all levels could be made visible to visitors.

The project is conceived to serve as a multi-level ‘showcase’ for exhibitions. Part of the cubes can support transparent polycarbonate panels, which can be used as showcases containing artworks, plants or other objects. The Summer House is essentially a movable museum and exhibition.

About the Architect

Yona Friedman (born 1923) is a Hungarian-born French architect. His theory and manifesto L’Architecture Mobile, published in 1958, champions the inhabitant as designer and conceptor of his own living space within spaceframe structures. Friedman’s work, developed to facilitate improvisation, influenced avant-garde groups such the Metabolists and Archigram. His projects have included the College Bergson in Angers, France; the Museum for Simple Technology in Madras, India, for which he received the Scroll of Honour for Habitat from the UN; and other projects for which he received the Architecture Award of the Berlin Academy, the Grand Prize for design of the Prime Minister of Japan and many other international honours. Universities where he has taught include Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Princeton and Berkeley. He has participated in the Venice Biennale three times (2003, 2005, 2009) and the Shanghai Biennale in 2004, among others. He has been, and continues to be, the subject of international exhibitions, the latest of which took place in 2015 at the Power Station Museum of Art in Shanghai. Hundreds of articles and more than 40 books have been published about him. Most recently he was voted by Blueprint Magazine readers as the winner of the 2015 Blueprint Magazine Award for Critical Thinking.

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


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