Since the summer of 2000, the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens has called on some of the world’s top architects to design a pavilion – temporary structures that are erected next to the Gallery itself for a three-month period. The Serpentine, which was built in 1934 as a tea pavilion, opened in 1970 as a showplace for exhibitions of modern and contemporary artists ranging from Matthew Barney to Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelley, Louise Bourgeois or Rachel Whiteread.
I would like to highlight some of the pavilions for their exceptional character, all are bright, but without a doubt, the design by Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond mark a before and an after, combining wit and imagination above formalities. The proposal, by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, is an outstanding contribution between architecture and art. And SANAA shows us the immateriality of nowhere, the reflexes, the "modern primitive" idea from Japanese culture is moved to West, and it is followed by others later.
The pavilions in the Programme that was conceived in 2000 by the Serpentine Director Julia Peyton-Jones, are the work of international architects or design teams who at the time of the Serpentine’s invitation have not completed a building in England. A maximum of six months from invitation to completion is allotted.
The architecture program on the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions attract up to 250,000 visitors each summer. The Serpentine Pavilion is regularly ranked in the top 5 most attended architecture and design exhibitions worldwide in The Art Newspaper’s annual survey of museums and galleries visitor figures. The architect Richard Rogers has stated, “The pavilions, erected for reatively little money, are unbelievably good. I coudn’t single one out that I have liked more than the others – they have all been masterpieces.”
All projects completed and one envisaged, but no finish, are:
• Zaha Hadid, 2000.
• Daniel Libeskind, 2001.
• Toyo Ito, 2002.
• Oscar Niemeyer, 2003.
• MVRDV, 2004 (no realizado).
• Alvaro Siza y Eduardo Souto de Moura con Cecil Balmond, 2005.
• Rem Koolhaas y Cecil Balmond, 2006.
• Olafur Eliasson y Kjetil Thorsen, 2007.
• Frank Gehry, 2008.
• SANAA, 2009.
• Jean Nouvel, 2010.
Other works such as Zaha Hadid’s temporary 2006 installation Lilas are included in the book as well.
Serpentine Gallery Pavilions
Author.- Philip Jodidio.
Hardcover, 30 x 30 cm, 356 pages.
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German.