A Monument to Roofers Who Let Rain In: Serpentine Pavilion at Theaster Gates | Serpentine Pavilion

One Church bells, along with the summer birdsong and tinkling of fountains in Kensington Gardens, herald the arrival of an unusual sacred space. A contemplative black cylinder, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, named the Black Chapel, is one of the more somber structures built for the annual committee to date, and is designed as a place for quiet contemplation, meditation and sacred music ( And a little raucous dancing, too).

“I want it to be a place where people can gather in peace, with their thoughts and rest,” Theister Gates says, the Chicago artist behind this year’s pavilion. “But it can also be a megaphone and a resonator, a place where great music can happen and we can sing and dance together.”

Part industrial, part spiritual, the pavilion feels like a funeral chapel, built inside a converted gas meter. A narrow black boardwalk cuts through the newly laid lawn outside the gallery, leading to a tall, thin doorway cut into an important wooden drum, beckoning to visitors inside. Inside, a continuous bench runs around the edge of the massive cylindrical volume, while vertical timber trusses support plywood-paneled walls that rise to a shallow domed roof with a single large circular aperture.

Every surface is saturated with inky black stains, creating an atmospheric backdrop for the seven square panels, gleaming in the shadows and hanging on the walls like mysterious altarpieces.Late additions to the pavilion, these are some of the Gates’ scorched oil paintingmade of multiple layers of blowtorch silver asphalt roofing material (called “torch down” in the U.S.), in part because of the recent death of his father, a roofer.

Salvaged from the Chicago demolition site...the bronze bell next to the pavilion.
Salvaged from the Chicago demolition site…the bronze bell next to the pavilion. Photography: Iwan Baan/Serpentine

“The pavilion feels like a memorial to his life and to passing on this skill from him to me,” said Gates, the first artist to be commissioned for Serpentine, The commission is usually awarded to the architect. “Maybe even I don’t want the skill, you know – I’m just a grown up kid and had to work with my pop music. But I feel very lucky now that I use his technology a lot in my work … the whole pavilion is essentially one big roof.”

A three-meter hole has been punched into the roof, which is to say that it has allowed the underfloor drainage to do its thing in the weekend washout. “I’ve been thinking about light rather than rain,” Gates admits.Although here in the pouring rain could be its own spectacular show, similar to when it rains inside the pantheon in rome, water droplets reverberate in the drum.It will add another sonic dimension to the sound of the large bronze bell, which is installed on the ground around the back of the pavilion, which is from the a demolished church On Chicago’s South Side, there will be ceremonial ringing throughout the summer’s program of events — from Gregorian chants to jazz recitals, Japanese tea ceremonies and family clay workshops.

Like most of Gates’ work, the inspiration for the pavilion Start with ceramics. His commission was delayed by a year to coincide with his wider multi-venue project in London, clay problem, with exhibitions at the V&A, Whitechapel Gallery and White Cube exploring the history, craftsmanship and racial politics of ceramics. He sees the kiosk as a mother tool for all of them: “I thought, ‘What if I could make a small jar bigger? What if it could go from holding a drink to holding a person?

draw inspiration from Bottle Kilns in Stoke-on-Trent and Honeycomb Kiln Gates’ original vision of the American West A large dome brick structure, but the temporary nature of the project precludes it.At that time, the use of steel was considered, but it was also its embodied carbon and construction speed.

“It had to be designed and built on such a strict schedule,” he said. “But I also wanted to strip it down to the most important parts and make it feel pure. I’m not an architect, so I wanted it to have the logic of a basic builder and not do the fancier pavilions like in the past.”

“I’ve been thinking about light instead of rain”…the entrance and the hole in the roof. Photography: Iwan Baan/Serpentine

The structure has a refreshingly craftsmanlike simplicity, although it has been filtered through the delicate, detailed lens of Adjaye Associates who helped execute the project.It feels as if something was lost in translation: Gates’ usual work has little to no gritty, gritty, ad hoc spirit, such as community building He reimagined on Chicago South, or Sanctuary space Co-designed in Bristol in 2015, it is made from recyclable materials collected from places of work and worship.Gates knows better than most that the material embodies the meaning, but the precision-cut, freshly machined wood on display here says more about Goldman’s sponsorship and acquisition of the pavilion By Austrian Spa Operator Rather than his community-centred, locally-rooted practice. It’s all too smooth. Gates said he tried to use recycled or leftover materials for the pavilion, but had trouble finding enough components of the right size.

As in previous years, the nature of the project – in Yorkshire by The first stage Set makers and trucks to Kensington – meaning the materials fit the intended design, not the other way around.Other designers who wish to use locally sourced components (e.g. Francis Kyle’s Plan for mud brick or goal of frida escobedo The use of off-the-shelf roof tiles was equally thwarted by the actual reality of the gallery’s orchestrated production.

Still, these limitations are known from the start, and some navigate them more nimbly than others. The success of the pavilion last year, by the youngest architect to date, Sumayya Vally of CounterspaceIndicates that Serpentine may be better off exploring more untested names, for whom the committee will be their most high-profile project – rather than the busy global superstars who may not be popping up The party hall sees it as their top priority.

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