The Serpentine announced that, in tandem with the 16th Pavilion, it expands its internationally acclaimed programme of exhibiting architecture in a built form by commissioning four architects to each design a 25sqm Summer House.
The four Summer Houses are inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical style summer house, built in 1734 and a stone’s throw from the Serpentine Gallery. In line with the criteria for the selection of the Pavilion architect, each architect chosen by the Serpentine has yet to build a permanent building in England.
The Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is an ‘unzipped wall’ that is transformed from straight line to three-dimensional space, creating a dramatic structure that by day houses a café and free family activities and by night becomes a space for the Serpentine’s acclaimed Park Nights programme of performative works by artists, writers and musicians. Kunlé Adeyemi’s Summer House is an inverse replica of Queen Caroline’s Temple – a tribute to its robust form, space and material, recomposed into a new sculptural object. Barkow Leibinger were inspired by another, now extinct, 18th Century pavilion also designed by William Kent, which rotated and offered 360 degree views of the Park. Yona Friedman’s Summer House takes the form of a modular structure that can be assembled and disassembled in different formations and builds upon the architect’s pioneering project La Ville Spatiale (Spatial City) begun in the late 1950s. Asif Khan’s design is inspired by the fact that Queen Caroline’s Temple was positioned in a way that would allow it to catch the sunlight from The Serpentine lake.
The expanded scheme will be submitted to Westminster City Council Planning Office and District Surveyor’s Office for planning later this month. The Serpentine Summer Houses, sited one minute’s walk from the Serpentine Gallery, will complement the world-famous Pavilion commission on the Gallery’s lawn by offering visitors an unrivalled, first-hand experience of contemporary architecture by leading international architects from across the generations, within the historic parkland of Kensington Gardens.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Galleries, said: We are delighted to reveal the designs for our expanded Architecture Programme. As you can see from the architect’s renders, Bjarke Ingels has responded to the brief for a multi-purpose Pavilion with a supremely elegant structure that is both curvaceous wall and soaring spire, that will surely serve as a beacon – drawing visitors across Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to visit the Pavilion, the Summer Houses and our major exhibitions by Alex Katz and Etel Adnan. The response to design a Summer House inspired by the 18th Century Queen Caroline’s Temple by our four international architects has been equally inspired and has produced four unique spaces for visitors to explore this summer.“
The Serpentine’s Pavilion commission, conceived in 2000 by Director Julia Peyton-Jones, has become an international site for architectural experimentation and has presented projects by some of the world’s greatest architects. Each Pavilion is sited on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn for four months and the immediacy of the commission – taking a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a unique model worldwide.
The selection of the architects, chosen for consistently extending the boundaries of architecture practice, is led by the Serpentine’s core curatorial thinking, introducing contemporary artists and architects to a wider audience. The brief is to design a 300-square-metre Pavilion that is used as a café by day and a forum for learning, debate and entertainment at night.