The Serpentine Gallery is one of London’s best-loved galleries for modern and contemporary art. It attracts up to 800,000 visitors in any one year and admission is free.
In the grounds of the Gallery is a permanent work by artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay, dedicated to the Serpentine’s former Patron Diana, Princess of Wales. The work comprises eight benches, a tree-plaque, and a carved stone circle at the Gallery’s entrance.
In 2013, the Serpentine Gallery will open its new space, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. This innovative arts venue for the 21st century will be housed in the Grade II-listed building formerly known as The Magazine, situated in Kensington Gardens.
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013
Designed by Sou Fujimoto
Until 20 October 2013
“It is a really fundamental question how architecture is different from nature, or how architecture could be part of nature, or how they could be merged…what are the boundaries between nature and artificial things” ~ Sou Fujimoto
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013, which will open on 8 June, will be designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.
He is the thirteenth and, at 41, youngest architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary structure for the Serpentine Gallery. The most ambitious architectural programme of its kind worldwide, the Serpentine’s annual Pavilion commission is one of the most anticipated events on the cultural calendar. Past Pavilions have included designs by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012), Frank Gehry (2008), the late Oscar Niemeyer (2003) and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural structure in 2000.
Widely acknowledged as one of the most important architects coming to prominence worldwide, Sou Fujimoto is the leading light of an exciting generation of artists who are re-inventing our relationship with the built environment. Inspired by organic structures, such as the forest, the nest and the cave, Fujimoto’s signature buildings inhabit a space between nature and artificiality. Fujimoto has completed the majority of his buildings in Japan, with commissions ranging from the domestic, such as Final Wooden House, T House and House N, to the institutional, such as the Musashino Art Museum and Library at Musashino Art University.
Occupying some 350 square-metres of lawn in front of the Serpentine Gallery, Sou Fujimoto’s delicate, latticed structure of 20mm steel poles will have a lightweight and semi-transparent appearance that will allow it to blend, cloud-like, into the landscape and against the classical backdrop of the Gallery’s colonnaded East wing. Designed as a flexible, multi-purpose social space – with a café sited inside – visitors will be encouraged to enter and interact with the Pavilion in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in London’s Kensington Gardens.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said:
“We are thrilled to be working with one of the most fascinating architects in the world today. A visionary, who has conceived an extraordinary response to our invitation to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Sou Fujimoto has designed a structure that will enthral everyone that encounters it throughout the summer.”
Describing his design concept, Sou Fujimoto said:
“For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.
The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The overall footprint will be 350 square-metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. A series of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space.
The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will create a geometric, cloud-like form, as if it were mist rising from the undulations of the park. From certain vantage points, the Pavilion will appear to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.”
Fujimoto is the third Japanese architect to accept the invitation to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, following Toyo Ito in 2002 and Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA in 2009
Serpentine Gallery unveils Sou Fujimoto’s sculpture
BBC News, 4 June 2013
Cloud of steel: Sou Fujimoto’s temporary pavilion for London’s Serpentine Gallery unveiled
The Independent, 4 June 2013
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 review
The Guardian, Tuesday 4 June 2013
Sou Fujimoto interview
London Evening Standard, Tuesday 4 June 2013
Sou Fujimoto and building with nature, The Observer, Saturday 25 May 2013
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