Serpentine Augmented Architecture builds on the legacy of the annual Serpentine Pavilion by connecting the Serpentine’s expertise in commissioning new architecture with its work in the field of advanced technologies.
In 2019, a global open-call for new forms of architecture was launched in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture and Sir David Adjaye, OBE
Applicants were invited to propose imaginary city spaces and speculations on the built environment to be developed and experienced in augmented reality (AR) on site at the Serpentine Galleries in Summer 2019. The commission was selected by:
Virgil Abloh, Artist & Designer; Sir David Adjaye, OBE, Architect and Trustee of the Serpentine Galleries; Amira Gad, Curator, Exhibitions & Architecture, Serpentine Galleries; Ivaylo Getov, Technical Director, Serpentine Augmented Architecture; Freya Murray, Creative Lead, Google Arts & Culture Lab; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries; Yana Peel, Former CEO, Serpentine Galleries; Amit Sood, Director, Google Arts & Culture; Ben Vickers, Chief Technology Officer, Serpentine Galleries; Kay Watson, Digital Curator, Serpentine Galleries; Greg Williams, Editor-in-Chief, WIRED UK
An emerging tool and medium, conversations surrounding AR today have the opportunity to shape its purpose tomorrow. We sought proposals that embrace this technology, considering how AR could transform our spatial, social and structural experience of the cities in which we live.
Open Call Brief, Serpentine Augmented Architecture 2019
The reality of the city today is a complex layering of topologies where our physical and digital worlds collide. The digital has mechanised the architecture of the city to create an increasingly elaborate relationship between the built environment, networked technologies and human experience. Augmented reality presents a significant moment within architectural practice; one that radically challenges our understanding of city spaces and the environment by creating a highly visible interface between the physical and digital (infra)structures that surround us.
We invite you to consider the role and utility of AR within this complex topography of the city; as a digital layer that offers new opportunities for design, visualisation and experience. Proposals should explore how AR can be used to develop, transform and enact new ideas about how our cities and public spaces are designed.
We were looking for ideas that responded to each of these three key provocations.
- How does your proposal Reinvent the City?
Our urban environment is an expression of human needs and desires, situated within complex ecosystems. We want you to take the opportunity to consider how the city can be reinvented to produce new realities through AR. Speculations could play out through buildings, objects, games or interactions.
- How does your proposal Rethink Spatiality?
AR challenges many of the constraints that have helped shape the way our cities look and function. In AR, ideas no longer need to be binded by space, time or even gravity. Your proposal should be driven by a reconsideration of these conditions in an environment that is non-physical.
iii. How does your proposal Reactivate the Site?
The Serpentine is situated in a park filled with natural life and over 12 million visitors each year, in a global city: how you augment this context is important. Your project should have a degree of site-specificity within it.
Finally, we want to highlight that the rules of augmented reality have not yet been defined. We’re particularly excited to see concepts that embrace social interaction, collective experience and the unknown.