Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hortus Conclusus

It's been difficult to decide on what to post after five eventful weeks of travel, but I finally decided to start with my most recent experience. On the last leg of my journey I spent four days in London, which as it happens, was during a record-breaking October heat-wave.
On the recommendation of a friend I visited the temporary pavilion, which is commissioned every year by the Serpentine gallery in Hyde Park. This year it was designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and featured a garden by Piet Oudolf. It turned out to be a spectacular experience, the building itself was a black rectangular box with an inner corridor running around its outer walls with openings into the interior. Inside was a courtyard open to the sky and containing this wonderful garden which in contrast to the matt black surface of the building glowed in the hot autumn sunshine.

See this link to the Serpentine Gallery

The unassuming exterior of the structure.

A close up of the surface of the structure.

Inner corridor leading to the courtyard and garden.

The spectacle as you enter the courtyard.

Open to the sky.

Details of the planting.

More detail.


Votedwithourforks said...

Hi Barry
thanks for this very interesting post. I really responded to your wonderful photos because the garden design reminded me so strongly of the feeling I had on visiting the Ryoanji Zen garden in Japan, which I have been fortunate enough to visit on two occasions. There are some physical similarities between Zumhof's overhanging roofline with Ryoanji, where you enter and sit on a small covered veranda that runs the length of the garden. Along with Piet Oudolf's wonderful planting the building certainly seems to have achieved the 'spiritual' response to the space the archictect was seeking to achieve.

Barry Parker said...

Hi Votedwithourforks,

You're right!
I've visited Ryoanji several times also, and remembered the same sense of peacefulness.
I'm sure that Zumhof has been influenced by Japanese gardens, as well as similar spaces found in many other cultures around the world.
thanks for your comment,