Serpentine Pavilion 2009

August 24, 2009 /

London, United Kingdom

Photo courtesy Serpentine Pavilion

Sejima and Nishizawa have created a beautiful Pavilion that resembles a reflective cloud or a floating pool of water, sitting atop a series of delicate columns.

The metal roof structure varies in height, wrapping itself around the trees in the park, reaching up towards the sky and sweeping down almost to the ground in various places. Open and ephemeral in structure, its reflective materials make it sit seamlessly within the natural environment, reflecting both the park and sky around it.

Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace
sanaa_serpentine_9.jpg Photo: arcspace

Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace

"The Pavilion is floating aluminium, drifting freely between the trees like smoke. The reflective canopy undulates across the site, expanding the park and sky. Its appearance changes according to the weather, allowing it to melt into the surroundings. It works as a field of activity with no walls, allowing uninterrupted view across the park and encouraging access from all sides. It is a sheltered extension of the park where people can read, relax and enjoy lovely summer days."
Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

Separate areas within the Pavilion contain spaces for a café and an auditorium, where the Park Nights events program is presented, including performances, talks, film screenings and the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon.

The Rabbit Chair, one of our favorites, is a colorful addition to the otherwise transparent Pavilion.

Photo: arcspace

Sketch courtesy SANAA Rabbit Chair sketch
The Pavilion is SANAA's first built structure in the UK and the ninth commission in the Gallery's annual series of Pavilions.

The Pavilion architects to date are: Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un-realised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, 2000.

Each Pavilion is sited on the Gallery's lawn for three months and the immediacy of the process, a maximum of six months from invitation to completion, provides a peerless model for commissioning architecture.

"Arup's eighth year of commitment to the Serpentine Pavilion reflects our belief in the project and the positive experience our teams get from collaborating with some of the most exciting architects of our time. This year's Pavilion does not disappoint and reflects the exciting dynamism that SANAA bring to all of their projects."
Arup Partner Ed Clark

The SANAA Pavilion will be dismantled between October 20 and November 23, 2009.

The Pavilion reminded us of a miniature project SANAA did in 2006 for an exhibition in Naoshima, Japan, using thin stainless steel columns and aluminum.

Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace

Facts about Serpentine Pavilion 2009

Overall Site area

: 580 m2
Footprint: 557 m2
Maximum height: 3.5 m
Minimum height: 1 m

Structure and materials:

Stainless steel columns
Aluminium and plywood composite roof
Light grey concrete flooring


Serpentine Gallery

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

Copyright 1999 - 2017 arcspace all rights reserved.