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Monday, June 17, 2024

Serpentine Pavilion finds permanent home in downtown Vancouver

A spectacular piece of public art is making the move across the pond from London, U.K. to downtown Vancouver.

The Serpentine Pavilion was commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries in London, as part of an annual event on the gallery’s lawn at Kensington Garden.

The pavilion was designed by Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG, and purchased by Vancouver-based developer Westbank, with the intention of giving it a permanent home in downtown Vancouver.

Westbank plans to install the Serpentine Pavilion on a public plaza next to the Shaw Tower, home to Westbank’s head office. The public art piece measures 14 metres tall. 

The pavilion will first travel to Toronto and New York, before making its way to Vancouver, likely in 2018 or 2019.

“Westbank has a well established and growing relationship with Bjarke and his team at BIG,” said Ian Gillespie, founder of Westbank. “Purchasing the pavilion was a very natural extension of that partnership and we want to give Bjarke’s creation the most interesting afterlife of any of the previous pavilions.”

Ingels and Westbank worked together on the Vancouver House luxury condominium development currently under construction at Pacific and Howe.

The design for the pavilion is inspired by a brick wall, but instead of clay bricks or stone blocks, the wall is made up of extruded fibreglass frames stacked on top of each other. The wall is pulled apart or “unzipped”, creating a cavity allowing the public to experience the art first hand. The interior of the wall can also be used for events, as seen in photos below from when it was installed in London.

There’s no official word yet on when the Serpentine Pavilion will be installed, but it promises to be a great Instagram opportunity and a welcome addition to public art in Vancouver. Check out the spectacular photos below.

Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG
Serpentine Pavilion London
The Serpentine Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Credit: Iwan Baa/BIG

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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