Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011
September 6, 2011
Swiss architect Peter Zumthor’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 (Showed above) – a rectangular black box enclosing a garden in the middle – remained me of the Chinese character “Yuan” 園 for garden. The character for “Yuan” (showed below), is enclosed by a wall, with the phonetic radical “yuan” in the middle, which is not only a phonetic symbol but also expressed the essence of a Chinese garden, it is made of “earth/soil” (“tu” 土) at the top to grow flowers, shrubs and trees, has a “mouth” (“kou” 口) in the middle to represent openings to express the idea of framed views and borrowed views used in a garden and “female” (“nu” 女) at the bottom to represent the garden being a Yin place – a quiet retreat from the outside world.
Peter Zumthors does a masterpiece of Qing-Dan 清淡 (simple and elegant) architecture again with this pavilion and reduced a garden right down to its Benxing 本性 (original character or essence) just like what the Chinese character for garden tried to express.