Dulwich Picture Gallery Pavilion by IF_DO
Set in the grounds of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London, a mirrored pavilion designed by emerging architecture studio IF_DO for the London Festival of Architecture has an evanescent, ghostly aspect that reflects the Festival’s theme of memory. Its cantilevering, trussed timber roof, edged in a diaphanous skirt of metal mesh, rests atop slender polished-aluminum panels that produce fragmentary reflections of the surrounding gardens and brick walls of the adjacent gallery. These abstractions and multiplications appear to extend the building into the landscape, while drawing the gardens into the heart of the structure like the jumbled, combinatory workings of the mind. “We wanted to create reflections that are like snapshots of the building and the landscape together,” says IF_DO director Al Scott. The architects named the project After Image, and, like retinal impressions that linger, the illusionary images created by the pavilion are at once vivid and vague. The 2,690-square-foot demountable structure, which will remain in place for four months, was built to mark the gallery’s 200th anniversary. It refers to its venerable neighbor, completed by Sir John Soane in 1817, by borrowing proportions from the building’s arches for its mirroring panels. Paying homage to Soane, Scott says, “He was a master of moving panels, mirrors, drama, and playfulness.” Certainly, visitors seem entranced: children play hide-and-seek among the kaleidoscopic reflections, while their parents stand staring at the walls, lost in the landscape.