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The newly formed Meinhardt Sketch Club organised its first sketch outing last week to the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion, built in the grounds of the Serpentine Galleries in Kensington Gardens.

Each year the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park erects a new pavilion with two simple requirements: it must be designed by an architect who has not completed a building in England before, and it must be gone by the end of the summer. This year, the pavilion’s outstanding design was conceived by Burkinabe architect Diébédo Francis Kéré of Kéré Architecture, based in Berlin. Constructed by Stage One Creative Services, the structure also perfectly demonstrates the skills of Stage One’s design, drafting, manufacturing, and installation teams.

Meinhardt’s Sketch Club visited the 2017 Pavilion last week for the club’s first workshop. Poor weather posed some challenges, but did little to deter the 20-strong Meinhardt engineers from getting out their pencils and sketchbooks. George, one of the courageous few who cycled through the rain to the Pavilion commented, “It was a great opportunity to practice our freehand sketching skills whilst appreciating an interesting architectural structure. And good to get outdoors with the team, despite the weather!”

Sketching the Pavilion

To add an element of competition, all sketches were exhibited in the office the next day for the entire Meinhardt office to judge and find a winner. Just two votes separated the runner-up, Dario Feliciangeli and the winner, Steffan Carey. Steffan put together a very detailed sketch in only 50 minutes, all while standing! Steffan told us, “The strong West African design influences and a verdant setting made this year’s structure by Kéré a unique subject to draw. I tried to reflect these themes in my sketch by choosing a vantage point which provided a broad sweep of colour from Kéré’s deep blue walls and expansive canopy, but also allowed for a narrowly framed view into the heart of the structure and the fragile steel-framed trunk that holds it up”.

The winning sketch

The visit was the first of a number of regular workshops organised by the Meinhardt Sketch Club, and the initiative forms an important part of the Meinhardt cultural and social strategy. Structural Associate Matthieu Roure explained the interest behind the event: “Engineers are generally limited to technical sketching. This is a perfect way to get people together outside the office to socialise, while simultaneously honing their creative skills. It has been really refreshing to see our younger staff contributing to this event with enthusiasm and enjoying free hand sketching.”

The next visit for the Sketch Club will be to the Dulwich Pavilion on 18th and 25th of August, followed by visits to the National Theatre, Design Museum, and British Museum in September.

Serpentine Pavilion: