Rem Koolhaas' 2006 Serpentine Gallery pavilion was inflated like a balloon - architecture and design

Rem Koolhaas' 2006 Serpentine Gallery pavilion was inflated like a balloon



Movie: in our next exclusive movie with Julia Peyton-Jones, the Serpentine Gallery director discusses the bulbous inflatable canopy that adornedRem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond's 2006 pavilion.

The 2006 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA with Cecil Balmond and engineering firm Arup, featured a giant helium-filled canopy.
"I had this image in my mind that the bubble might sort of float away off into the ether," Peyton-Jones says in the movie. "But of course it never did."

The balloon-like form was lowered when the weather was bad to avoid it getting damaged by strong winds. But the canopy extended above the roof of the Serpentine Gallery when it was fully inflated on fine days.
Related story: Siza and Souto de Moura's 2005 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion was "hugely complicated"

"We had a very simple mechanism," Peyton-Jones explains. "We could raise it like a balloon so it would completely transform the profile of the structure."

The canopy and the solid facade of the structure were made from translucent plastic, allowing natural light to filter into the auditorium housed within the pavilion. Lights inside caused it to glow at night.

Inside, the auditorium featured a frieze by Thomas Demand to coincide with an exhibition of the photographer's work at the gallery.
"That year was incredibly important because there was an artistic link between the pavilion an...
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