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Summer pavilion season is upon us again. The five follies below not only represent some of the most playful and innovative architecture all year, but they also point to some of the design talents we can expect to be talking about in the years to come.

Xylem by Francis Kéré
Summer Pavilions of 2019 - XYLEM
Francis Kéré’s XYLEM Pavilion, at Tippet Rise, in Montana. PHOTO: Iwan Baan

To see one of our favourite summer pavilions of 2019, you’ll have to take a bit of a road trip. Tippet Rise, in Fishtail, Montana, first grabbed our attention in 2016. The middle-of-nowhere arts centre’s series of massive earthen sculptures – which we profiled at the time, are now joined on the sprawling property by a wood installation by West African architect Francis Kéré. Inaugurated in mid-July, Xylem is a 2,100-square-foot structure shaped by pillars of locally sourced pine that are designed to evoke the nature structure of a tree.

XYLEM at Tippet Rise
Xylem is made from locally sourced pine. Photo by Iwan Baan. PHOTO: Iwan Baan

Beneath a canopy of vertically arranged logs, the interior offers shaded seating areas from which to contemplate views of the surrounding landscape. 

Hórama Rama by Pedro & Juana
Summer Pavilions of 2019 - Hórama Rama
The 2019 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Pavlion, design by Pedro & Juana PHOTO: Kris Graves

An annual fixture offering respite from the city heat, the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Pavilion has once again taken over the Long Island City museum’s courtyard. This year’s installation was designed by Mexico City architects Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Ruess, aka Pedro & Juana. The duo, who triumphed over four other finalists to win this year’s commission, heightened the visibility of the installation with a spiky structure that reaches over the walls that enclose the courtyards, connecting two interior spaces with the city beyond.

Hórama Rama by Pedro & Juana
PHOTO: Kris Graves

Composed of over 2,000 wooden “bristles” that form a massive cylinder, the pavilion features an interior wrapped with a printed screen to offer a jungle-themed cyclorama. “We wanted to catapult the audience into a jungle,” says Ruiz Galindo. Visitors can enjoy this panoramic view from bright pink hammocks that hang along the perimeter of the scaffolding base. In the smaller courtyard, a real waterfall tumbles from the perforated vinyl screen, amplifying the immersive effect of the piece and making it fell all the more as if you’ve truly escaped the city.

Salvage Swings by Somewhere Studio
Summer Pavilions of 2019 - Salvage Swings
Salvage Swings, this year’s City of Dreams Pavlion, on Roosevelt Island. PHOTO: James Leng

Each summer the Figment NYC arts festival brings a unique installation to Roosevelt Island. Curated via competition, this year’s City of Dreams Pavilion was designed by Arkansas-based Somewhere Studio and was constructed using a supply of salvaged cross laminated timber. Comprising a dozen asymmetrical modules, which alternately angle inwards and outwards, the structure wraps an intimate, triangular opening that becomes a grassy stage for performances and activities.

Salvage Swings by Somewhere Studio
Designed by Arkansas-based Somewhere Studio, this installation is made from scrap CLT. PHOTO: James Leng

At the centre of each wood module’s brightly striped interior, a simple rope swing with a wooden seat (made from the window pieces cut from the walls between modules) beckons adults and children alike to inhabit the space for a few moments.

Serpentine Pavilion by Junya Ishimgami
Summer Pavilions of 2019 - Serpentine
Junya Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion, in London’s Kensington Gardens. PHOTO: Iwan Baan

The June opening of the Serpentine Pavilion is one architecture’s most anticipated annual events, with design enthusiasts around the world waiting to see what the year’s chosen architect will bring to London’s Kensington Gardens. The craggy structure currently sprawled across the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn is the work of Japanese architect Junya Ishigami. Inspired by the most basic of architectural interventions – the roof – Ishigami’s structure is the result of a desire to create “harmony between man-made structures and those that already exist in nature.”

Serpentine Pavilion by Junya Ishigami
PHOTO: Iwan Baan

Rising up from the ground much like a natural hill, the weighty canopy, comprising over 60 tonnes of Cumbrian slate, seems to float above the ground, thanks to a network slender steel columns.

Second Home Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano
SelgasCano the best architecture and design lectures of fall 2023
SelgasCano’s 2015 Serpentine Pavilion has been resurrected in Los Angles. PHOTO: Iwan Baan

In the past year or so we’ve seen Kéré’s Serpentine installation rebuilt in Malaysia, and BIG’s travel to Toronto before it settles in its permanent home in Vancouver. The 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Spanish firm SelgasCano, has also found an appropriate reason for an encore: it’s just been rebuilt in Los Angeles to serve as an events space for co-working company Second Home. SelgasCano are also the designers of Second Home’s new Los Angeles location, set to open in September.

Second Home Serpentine
PHOTO: Iwan Baan

Made from colourful swaths of ETFE, this meandering series of rainbow tunnels was slightly reengineered for its installation near the La Brea Tar Pits. Rather than attaching the plastic sheets directly onto the metal framework, the architects devised a new system that threads the two main components together, to avoid any possibility of the plastic melting against the metal, under the hot California sun.

Summer Pavilions of 2019 - Second Home Serpentine
The Most Intriguing Summer Pavilions of 2019

Temporary architecture marvels around the world by Francis Kéré, Pedro & Juana, Somewhere Studio and more.

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