Monday, 3 August 2009

Things that Lurk in old Hard Drives: Design for Serpentine Pavilion 2003

What things can be unearthed from the dusty interiors of ancient Hard Drives once presumed broken!

I found this video that I had forgotten I had ever made on an old hard drive that I was about to throw away, since it hadnt worked for about 5years. I plugged it in one last time, to find that it hummed gently, and happily gave up its contents, all of which I had thought forever lost, including this startlingly mechanical and monochrome fly-through of my final design in 2003, (a proposal for a Serpentine Pavilion) for Charles Walker's first year at the AA Intermediate School; a unit that is now spawning a prodigious quantity of pavilions in Bedford Square. I designed an Excel Spreadsheet that would generate all the panels according to a few parameters, and several bell curve formulas (for height gradation and grid distortion, both in plan and section). The next year (2004) the project turned up in a sheet of 'influences' for Jurgen Mayer's Seville 'Metropol Parasol', along with a couple of other projects from other architects.

I do not like the design, but the insanely geeky and thorough process of designing my own parametric 'program' from scratch on Excel was an experience that I do not regret; and besides, doing this design for the Serpentine Pavilion took so long, and was generaly so unnatural to my inclinations, and so out of keeping with a context I loved so much, that there was a whole year of pent-up ideas, and continuously frustrated desires for the site and the programme, that simply burst forth with a vengeance when somehow, through luck, I ended up in Rotterdam, working on the 2006 OMA/Rem Koolhaas Serpentine Pavilion. It was such a joy to be able to work on a real design for the same site, a real design together with a team (notably the eminent Mr Karel Wuytack) and an architect, who were interested in so many of the things I had suffered from a lack of, in Charles' strange tool-based technocracy; namely the pavilion's relationship to the historicity of the place, its quality of allusion and its enmeshment with the events planned to occur within it.

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