Decoding Design

Inspiration from old ideas for London's new architecture pavilion

Inspiration from old ideas for London's new architecture pavilion

Posting in Architecture

In this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London's Hyde Park, designers Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei uncovered the past.

The Serpentine Gallery at Hyde Park in London has revealed the designs for the 2012 Pavilion, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and famed Chinese artist Ai WeiWei, the design team that built the Beijing Olympic Stadium in 2008. This year's pavilion will be part of the London 2012 Festival, capping off the city's Cultural Olympiad.

The Serpentine Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in the park that annually commissions famous international architects to design a pavilion on its lawn that showcases contemporary architectural practice while holding film screenings, educational programs and lectures, as well as a cafe.

The twelfth pavilion at the gallery will explore the hidden history of all of the previous installations, as if to excavate them. Eleven columns under the Serpentine lawn will represent the past pavilions, and a final twelfth column will support a floating platform roof. In the renderings of the design, the roof looks like a reflecting pool.

The form of the 2012 installation was generated by overlaying plans from the previous years onto the site. The designers then manipulated the drawings into a 3D form, pushing the intersecting shapes down into the ground or pulling them up. The interior will be made of cork, chosen for unique material and resemblance of an excavation.

The roof is covered with a thin sheet of water, and because this is below eye level for those standing on the lawn, the water will reflect the sky and the park. Underneath, the seats, platforms, stairs and ramps are all taken from the "ghosts" of pavilions past.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will be open from June 1 to October 14, 2012, and will be home to Park Nights, the gallery's program of public events.

Some insight into the design:

[ArchDaily]
Images: Herzog & de Meuron and

Share this

Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure