This year's Serpentine Pavilion is designed by South African firm Counterspace.
Serpentine Galleries has revealed images of this summer's temporary pavilion, which will stand in Kensington Gardens from 11 June to 11 October. As ever, the pavilion will be home to a series of talks and performances, or free to explore at your leisure.
What is the Serpentine Pavilion?
The Serpentine Pavilion is an annual tradition, now in its 20th year. Each summer, Serpentine Galleries commissions a different architect or practice to design the short-lived structure to stand beneath its main Kensington Gardens hub. For this anniversary year, Counterspace, directed by the all-woman team of Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar, was chosen. All born in 1990, the team are the youngest architects ever selected for the prestigious commission.
What's going on with this year's design?
On first blush, the structure is a relatively sober affair — something like a petrol station forecourt, only beautifully designed. There's more to it, of course.
The shapes of the Pavilion are created from a process of addition, superimposition, subtraction and splicing of architectural forms, directly transcribed from existing spaces with particular relevance to migrant and other peripheral communities in London.
That description from the press release leaves us a little puzzled, but clues are offered in the next bit.
That description from the press release leaves us a little puzzled, but clues are offered in the next bit:
Places of memory and care in Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Whitechapel, Edgware Road, Peckham, Ealing, North Kensington and beyond are transferred onto the Serpentine lawn. Where they intersect, they produce spaces to be together.
So, we think the concept is this: architectural shapes have been copied from community buildings around London, then re-assembled to make this pavilion. It's a curious and potentially ingenious idea, but we'll only fully appreciate the conceit come June, when we can stand among the brick-and-cork columns.
Serpentine Pavilion 2020 by Counterspace runs in Kensington Gardens 11 June to 11 October. General entry is free, though events may be ticketed.