Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009

Serpentine Gallery Pavillion, London, UK
Project Year
Iwan Baan

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009

SANAA as Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa

Describing their structure the architects, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, said: 'The Pavilion is floating aluminium, drifting freely between the trees like smoke. 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.'

Sejima and Nishizawa created a stunning Pavilion that resembled a reflective cloud or a floating pool of water, sitting atop a series of delicate columns. The metal roof structure varied 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 made it sit seamlessly within the natural environment, reflecting both the park and sky around it.

The Pavilion was the architects' first built structure in the UK and the 9th commission in the Gallery's annual series of Pavilions, the world's first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind that annually gives preeminent architects their debut in this country and brings the best of contemporary architecture to London for everyone to enjoy.

There is no budget for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission. It is paid for by sponsorship, sponsorship help-in-kind, and the sale of the finished structure through Knight Frank, which does not cover more than 40% of its cost. The Serpentine Gallery collaborates with a range of companies and individuals whose support makes it possible to realise the Pavilion.

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: 'Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa's design embraces the parkland around the Serpentine Gallery as never before with an extraordinarily innovative design, which reveals the subtle play on light and perception so characteristic of their work. This Pavilion will be a wonderful addition to London's landscape this summer. It is our dream come true.'

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

NetJets Europe was the title sponsor for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009. Mark Booth, Executive Chairman, said: 'Sejima and Nishizawa's design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2009 is truly breathtaking. The incredible light and openness of the concept will make for a stunning structure, which will raise the bar even higher for the much-anticipated Pavilion. Design is an area that we're passionate about at NetJets: we're firmly focussed on how we can bring world-class design to our customers' flight experience; just as the Serpentine Pavilion brings world class architecture to London. We're delighted to be a partner in this project and are looking forward to seeing the finished Pavilion.'

Arup partner Ed Clark commented: '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.'

Peter Rogers, director of Stanhope plc, donated his expertise to all aspects of the Pavilion. He said: 'The Serpentine Pavilion is a unique project whose innovative and challenging designs transcend normal building projects as well as fusing art and architecture in an exciting built form.'

On Saturday 11th July, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa gave a talk examining their groundbreaking design for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

Project Credits
Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa
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