A pavilion at the Serralves foundation, Folly by Fala Atelier

For the 32nd São Paulo Biennial, a temporary art gallery was to be installed at the Serralves’ Foundation in Oporto.The brief was vague therefore open to speculation and proposals. The site was a slopped spot of the foundation’s garden. A local architecture studio, Fala Atelier answered the brief with a folly.

As the word suggests and in their own words, they built an extravagant, frivolous or unreal building, thought more for an artistic expression than for functional reasons. And as the architect describes it, the pavilion aimed to be neo-classical and post-modern, a temple, a temporary construction and even a toy.

A cubic volume is set by a simple and rational wooden structure. The openings, a quadrant shaped door in one corner and in the opposite corner a very narrow and tall door seem to contradict the visible regular structure. Colours seem to be arbitrary but each match an element of the building. For instance pink curtains and black marble elements mark the openings. As a independent and autonomous temporary construction, the structure is placed on the terrain ignoring the slope. But still looking for integration a plinth erases the space between the construction and the ground.

Folly is both the combinations and contradictions between these pragmatic and playful solutions.

It’s dimensions, about five meters high, give to the pavilion that aimed temple look and feel. While inside five foldable deck chairs bring a certain domestic and informal feel as opposed to the monumental construction. To complete the Biennale’s temporary art gallery, inside was projected Priscila Fernandes’ film about contemplation and leisure. It seemed to dialogue well both with the park and the light-heartedness of the architecture.

Photos by Ricardo Loureiro

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