Bjarke Ingels’ critically acclaimed 2016 Serpentine Pavilion, dubbed the “unzipped wall”, is being re-assembled in Toronto and opening in September 2018 as the centrepiece of a new exhibit titled “Unzipped”. The temporary Pavilion made of 1802 stacked fibre glass boxes welcomed a record number of visitors during its 2016 run in London’s Hyde Park and was acquired by Westbank shortly after. The Pavilion will now be the centre piece of the new exhibition at King and Brant, which will serve as an architectural showcase by day and a destination for unique programming, dialogue and events by night. It will remain in place until the end of November 2018.
The “unzipped wall” is a play on one of the most basic elements of architecture: the brick wall. Rather than clay bricks or stone blocks, the wall is constructed from extruded fibre glass frames stacked on top of each other. The wall is “unzipped” to form a cavern within it, originally to house the events of the Pavilion program in London and now, to house an architectural exhibit curated by BIG in Toronto. When reconstructed, the Pavilion will conform to its original design and measurements, at 27 metres (88.5 feet) long, 12 metres (39 feet) wide and 14 metres (46 feet) high.
Toronto marks the beginning of the Pavilion’s multi-city tour — the first of its kind for a Serpentine Pavilion — before ultimately landing in Vancouver, to find its permanent home beside Westbank’s Shaw Tower on the waterfront.
The Serpentine Pavilion Commission
Conceived in 2000, the annual Serpentine Pavilion commission presents the work of an international architect (or design team) who has consistently extended the boundaries of architectural practice but is yet to build in England at the time of invitation. It has made the Serpentine Galleries an international site for architectural experimentation, growing into a showcase for emerging talent. Each Pavilion is sited on the Serpentine Galleries lawn in Kensington Gardens where it is free and open to the widest public for the summer months. The immediacy of the commission has made it a pioneering model world-wide. BIG’s Pavilion – the most visited architectural and design exhibition in the world in 2016 – was designed to be easily disassembled and transported with a view to it having the most interesting afterlife of any Serpentine Pavilion and eventually ﬁnding a second home.
BJARKE INGELS (BIG)
After working at Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA in Rotterdam, Bjarke Ingels founded the award winning architectural firm, PLOT with a former OMA colleague Julien de Smedt.
Bjarke Ingels went on to start his own firm, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in Copenhagen in 2005. Recent acclaimed projects include the West 57 housing development in New York, the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai World’s Fair and Amagerforbrænding in Copenhagen. He was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, The Wall Street Journal’s “Innovator of the Year” and is described as “rapidly becoming one of the design world’s rising stars”. Ingels was also included in the “Top 100 Most Creative People in Design” by Fast Company and was awarded a Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale, along with two American Institute of Architecture awards, the World Architecture Festival award for Housing, and numerous other prestigious accolades.
His accomplishments also include multiple teaching engagements at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, as well as being a frequent speaker for Wired, TED, and the World Economic Forum. BIG’s current work includes Google Charleston East, a scalable expansion headquarters in Mountain View, Mars Science City, an architectural experiment simulating life on Mars, Hyperloop One in Dubai and the Museum of London.
Vancouver House was Bjarke Ingels’ first project in Vancouver and first collaboration with Westbank. Since this first project we have gone on to create its sister structure TELUS Sky, in Calgary, which is set to be completed in 2018. We are currently developing another project in Vancouver at 720 Beatty and a project at King Street in Toronto, with several other projects being explored in all of the cities in which we practise.
Westbank is a practice dedicated to the creation of beauty, in all forms and in the broadest definition. We invite collaborations with cultural pioneers, showcasing their work and allowing it to inform and influence our projects.
We embrace our eclectic nature, broadening our interests and seeking out collaborators in art, culture, music, fashion, technology, sustainability, and architecture, while taking on projects at every scale, from the micro to the macro level.
Westbank has always been a practice seeking to make meaningful contributions to the cities in which we work and we see the creation of beauty as the means to this end.
Westbank has built a practice around long term commitments to artistry, sustainability, city-building and broadly, the creation of beauty, commitments which have increasingly begun to manifest themselves through our cultural contributions to the cities in which we work.
Westbank has always created projects which exemplify the highest standards. Our projects have consistently led their markets because of design innovation – the creation of value through ideas as well as through a degree of design excellence and quality that has come to define our practice.