Categories ArchitecturePosted on

Serpentine Summer Houses For Sale: Art-Meets-Architecture from The Modern House

When The Modern House came into existence in central London back in 2005, it pioneered a new marketplace for Britain’s best modern architecture. Their name was inspired by FRS Yorke’s celebrated book ‘The Modern House’ (1934), which introduced Modern Movement architecture to a British audience. More than a decade later, they are still successfully selling Britain’s finest examples of modern architecture. The built environment is in a state of constant flux, with people carrying out remarkable new projects in all corners of the country, and particularly in London.

When The Modern House came into existence in central London back in 2005, it pioneered a new marketplace for Britain’s best modern architecture. Their name was inspired by FRS Yorke’s celebrated book ‘The Modern House’ (1934), which introduced Modern Movement architecture to a British audience. More than a decade later, they are still successfully selling Britain’s finest examples of modern architecture. The built environment is in a state of constant flux, with people carrying out remarkable new projects in all corners of the country, and particularly in London.

This time, the challenge for The Modern House, accustomed to meeting the growing demand for exceptional living spaces of all kinds, including lofts, factory conversions, architects’ own homes, and period houses with excellent extensions and superior interiors, is to put the four new Serpentine Summer Houses up for sale.

These four spectacular Summer Houses are unique structures designed for the Serpentine Galleries as part of their summer architectural commission. They are being exhibited in Kensington Gardens until 9th October, at which point they will be de-installed and delivered to their new home. This is an exciting opportunity to purchase a one-off piece of art-meets-architecture. SEEN will certainly be visiting to see exactly what’s in store for potential purchasers.

The Serpentine Summer Houses for sale by The Modern House have been designed by Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman, Asif Khan and Kunlé Adeyemi. Along with the 16th Summer Pavilion, this year’s programme has been expanded, by commissioning these four famous architects to each design a 25 sqm Summer House inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple; a classical-style summer house built almost 300 years ago, and attributed to William Kent.

Kunlé Adeyemi’s proposal is an inverse replica of Queen Caroline’s Temple. According to the architect, born in Nigeria and based in Amsterdam, his design is intended as a tribute to the Temple’s robust form, space and material, recomposed into a new sculptural object. Here, the Temple’s interior void space has been rotated to expose the structure’s neo-classical plan, proportions and architectural form. Adeyemi has chosen prefabricated building blocks assembled from sandstone, similar to the ones used in the Temple to create a room, a doorway and a window for people to interact with the building, the environment and with one another. The carved out void, soft interior and fragmented furniture blocks create comfortable spaces for people to eat, rest or play.

Serpentine Summer Houses: Kunlé Adeyemi
Serpentine Summer Houses: Kunlé Adeyemi

The architectural practice Barkow Leibinger, founded in 1993 by US-born Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger, from Germany, have designed a Summer House inspired by another, now extinct, 18th Century pavilion also attributed to William Kent, which rotated and offered 360 degree views of the Park. For this exhibition, they propose a Summer House organised as four bands of structure beginning with a bench level attached to the ground, a second band of three C-shaped walls crowned by a third and fourth level which forms a roof that cantilevers a tree-like canopy over the smaller footprint, defined by the undulating loops of bench wood. As stated by the architects, the horizontal banding recalls the layered coursing of Kent’s Summer House thus displaying its idiosyncratic nature. The Summer House is constructed with plywood and timber, materials intrinsically in harmony with the looping geometry of the structure.

Serpentine Summer Houses: Barkow Leibinger
Serpentine Summer Houses: Barkow Leibinger

Yona Friedman’s Summer House takes the form of a modular structure that can be assembled and disassembled in different formations. It builds upon the architect’s pioneering project La Ville Spatiale (Spatial City) begun in the late 1950s when he suggested mobile, temporary and lightweight structures instead of the rigid, inflexible and expensive means of traditional architecture to meet the needs of the new society that was about to come. Yona Friedman was born in 1923 in Budapest (Hungary). After World War II, he briefly lived and worked in Israel, where he was confronted with the rapid development of mass housing. In his manifesto L’Architecture Mobile, published in 1958, he conceived architecture as a system of construction that allows the occupants to determine the design of their own living spaces within space frame structures.

Serpentine Summer Houses: Yona Friedman
Serpentine Summer Houses: Yona Friedman

The Summer House designed by Asif Khan’s London-based practice is inspired by the fact that Queen Caroline’s Temple was aligned toward the direction of the rising sun on 1st March 1683, the Queen’s birthday. This effect would have been amplified by the reflection off the newly-created Serpentine Lake, a possibility which John Rennie’s 1826 bridge obscures. Asif Khan has created a polished metal platform and roof to provide an intimate experience of this lost moment for the visitor. As he explains, three ‘rooms’ of differing spatial quality gently enfilade together like those in the Temple. These are articulated by an undulating line of timber staves, which create enclosure and direct views. The ground is a continuous gravel landscape punctuated by stepping stones, subtly elevating and measuring the visitor’s approach when entering the interior. As the structure meets the gravel, it gently blends the horizontal and vertical, to appear as if the Summer House might have grown out of the ground.

Serpentine Summer Houses: Asif Khan
Serpentine Summer Houses: Asif Khan

This is a unique opportunity to purchase something really special and, SEEN suspects, to witness the beginning of a new trend in Summer Houses.

The Modern House Ltd
63 Halliford Street
London
N1 3HF
www.themodernhouse.com

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