Hyde Park Zeppelin
Serpentine Gallery London
8 May 2006
We were obliged to stop on the way to London at Canary Wharf for emergency Lunch and Petrol.
We found a Sushi Bar and overspent on Miso soup and raw fish, and then found ourselves in the Lobby of the Canary Wharf Tower. Mrs. Monk recognised the world’s must famous chair designed by Mies van der Rohe for his 1929 Barcelona Pavilion at the International Exhibition Before trying out the chair, we predicted that it would be uncomfortable.
We made our way to Hyde Park where the Serpentine Summer Pavilion had just been completed.
Each Summer, the Serpentine Gallery commissions a famous architect to design a Pavilion usually accommodated little more than a cafe. This annual commission is an important showpiece for experimental architecture, and former pavilions were designed by Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Toyo Ito, Oscar Niemeyer, and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond last year.
This year’s pavilion was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas and structural designer Cecil Balmond.
I made my way about the pavilion, and I was approached by another man who asked me if I knew how the inflatable roof interacted with the weather. I had also read that the huge inflatable roof reacted to the weather in some way. I speculated that the roof seemed to be inflated by an air pump and that it could possibly be lowered by simply reducing the pressure of the inflation. The man was an architect and he seemed to have the same doubts about the mechanics of the building and like me; he wanted answers that would justify the experiment, and our shared enthusiasm for it.
I mentioned that last year’s pavilion was sold and was transported to Barcelona. He said that Barcelona was the place where prestigious architectural pavilions were first constructed. I told him that just one hour earlier Mrs Monk and I had sat on the very chair that was designed for that pavilion.
“So bloody uncomfortable” he said, “But so beautiful”
And looking up I wanted the form of this new magnificent structure to have some connection with its function.
Mrs Monk then appeared and enjoyed chastising me in front of my new friend, because I had apparently neglected the car that was illegally parked.
“Let me have the car keys, Honey,” she said.
My new friend said, “I love the way Americans say, Honey”.
“She was being sarcastic”, I said... Shoestring Chronicle