The Serpentine’s Ever Changing Pavilion


London’s 40-year-old Serpentine Gallery may have housed works by Man Ray, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons, but the gallery’s most impressive feature is its summer Pavilion series, which was created in 2000 by gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones. What started with Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid’s steel structure became an annual invitation from the gallery for an architect to design an outdoor pavilion on its lawn.

The Pavilion project has attracted some of the most world renowned architects, none of whom had designed a building in England before (yes, that’s the one stipulation). With the financial backing from various sponsors (the gallery lacks any budget for the pavilions), these architects have been able to exert their creative freedom into a project that is completed in a mere six months, and on display for an even slighter 100 days. But no matter — roughly 250,000 visitors come each year, making the installation more than twice as popular as the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Today it was announced that controversial French architect Jean Nouvel is on board for 2010’s installation. Images from the past ten years of Serpentine Pavilions, plus a closer look at Nouvel’s mock-up, after the jump.

Jean Nouvel’s 2010 design. The plan features table tennis tables, an auditorium, and a tilting 12-meter wall.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 Designed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA

“The Pavilion is floating aluminum, 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

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2008 Designed by Frank Gehry

“The Pavilion is designed as a wooden timber structure that acts as an urban street running from the park to the existing Gallery. Inside the Pavilion, glass canopies are hung from the wooden structure to protect the interior from wind and rain and provide for shade during sunny days. The Pavilion is much like an amphitheater, designed to serve as a place for live events, music, performance, discussion and debate.” – Gehry

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007 by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen

Resembling a spinning top, this wooden structure features a spiral ramp.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2006, Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup

“These Pavilions have evolved with various structural typologies and materials, provoking a debate on architecture; this year the exploration continues not only with typology and material but with the very definition of ‘Pavilion.'” – Balmond

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2005 Designed by Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond – Arup

With a structure reflecting the Serpentine Gallery, this Pavilion mirrored its surroundings.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2003 Designed by Oscar Niemeyer

Made of steel, aluminum, concrete and glass, the Pavilion also housed Niemeyer’s own drawings.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2002 Designed by Toyo Ito with Arup

Based on the algorithm of a cube with transparent and translucent triangles and trapezoidal shapes.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2001 Designed by Daniel Libeskind with Arup

Made of aluminum panels, this pavilion referenced origami art and created light reflections.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2000 Designed by Zaha Hadid

A reinterpretation of a tent, this steel structure boasts an interior of 600 square meters.