Dan Graham: Waterloo Sunset at the Hayward Gallery, London (2003)

R. J. Preece
artdesigncafé - art | 3 January 2010
This announcement of Dan Graham’s completed public art commission was previously published in Sculpture magazine in April 2004, 23(3), page 27.

Dan Graham unveiled his new two-way mirrored glass pavilion Waterloo Sunset at the Hayward Gallery (2002–03) in late October 2003. The pavilion is part of a £1.8 million face-lift extending and improving the Hayward Gallery’s foyer and facilities. The new foyer provides a dramatic focal point and welcome contrast to the building’s largely Brutalist façade, which was originally designed in the early 1960s.

The pavilion— described as a “funhouse” by Dan Graham— stretches across sculpture, design, and architecture. In this completely glazed elliptical form, the curved glass walls create anamorphic distortions of reflection, with the sides being either reflective or transparent, depending on the light conditions outside. Like many of Dan Graham’s pavilions, Waterloo Sunset also has a utilitarian function. It’s a “drop-in center for children and old people and a space for viewing cartoons,” he says. The design incorporates a folded, free-standing glass-and-metal screen that houses six touch-sensitive monitors, which feature cartoons, artists’ videos, and a program providing information about the Hayward’s activities.

All of the pavilion’s glass was structurally glazed— “glued” in place with silicone so that the glass surface appears frameless from the interior. The illusion is further enhanced by the placement of the support structure on the building’s exterior. The frame for the ellipse was lifted into place in four sections and welded together on site.

Dan Graham’s most famous pavilion is on the roof of the Dia Center, New York (1981/91). Others include the Café Bravo for Kunst-Werke, Berlin (1998) and the Heart Pavilion (1991) at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, which is intended as a romantic meeting place in the lobby.