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Summer Pavilion

The SNG Summer Pavilion was the highlight of 2012/2013 season; it won an architectonic award, media attention and most importantly, it was a hit with the visitors. The idea came out of positive gallery reaction - creative temporary arrangement that is our way of dealing with the upcoming reconstruction. It is the result of consideration, wider reflection about the role of the Gallery nowadays and personal commitment. We were interested in the boundaries of the public institution - are we here only to fulfil our appointed function or can we also move forward? What exactly does visitor service include? We are a gallery but besides educational bonus, we also offer an alternative way to spend free time, so what can we offer besides exhibitions? What potential has one inner green square hidden in the city, disconnected from the main communication lines? What is, or what could be, the relationship between a city and a gallery?

While searching for the answers, we were inspired by many examples that we like and think work well - we like the Museums Quartier in Vienna, we are fans of the Tuileries Garden and also of the Summer Reading Room at the Red Crayfish. Perhaps that is the reason why we started with the idea of a reading room; but we kept changing it and adding other activities and in the end reading room ended up being the smallest part of the pavilion. The starting point was to preserve the green space in the city centre, make it available as a shelter from the city heat and offer a taste of seaside atmosphere and all without the obligation to visit the exhibition. Afterwards came the ambition to transform the abandoned greenery and make it into something functional but also comfortable and low cost. How to add the wow factor to something almost invisible?

We didn't work on this alone but cooperated with the architects Martin Jančo and Aleš Šedivec and we were truly lucky - they listened to us and we listened to them. The result was summer in a hammock, camping trip in the Gallery, many concerts, long spontaneous discussion, workshops for children, markets but also sleeping under the trees. 

Architects Martin Jančok and Aleš Šedivec said about the pavilion that it was monumental and invisible at the same time. During the four summer months various activities and events were organized in the courtyard of the Slovak National Gallery. The idea was based on a lattice - a network that was able to capture various program items in time and change according to dramaturgy during the whole summer.

The pavilion took on many functions; it was a café, garden, reading room, playground, concert and theatre stage or exhibition space. The clear architectonic form had to be subtle enough not to be distracting in the context of the Water Barracks and allow the grass and trees in the courtyard to stand out. The skeleton of the temporary pavilion were scaffolding poles in a 4x4x4 m grid painted white. This created a framework for the on going activities and demarcates the area - the open space in the middle of the pavilion. Unobtrusive but an indispensable part of the project were the stairs across the whole rim of the elevated plateau that made the pavilion more accessible.

The expenses were minimalized; the scaffolding poles were found in the SNG deposits were used by Imro Vaško several years ago for an exhibition at Exhibition Hall of the Ministry of Culture. Discarded furniture, exhibition stands, cushions and fridge from the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2008 also found their use again. Carpenter took the used timber in the autumn and used it again. Overall, there was no waste after the pavilion was taken down.


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