Launch Slideshow

2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

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    Iwan Baan

    The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion exterior

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    Iwan Baan

    The roof collects rainwater, which can be drained into a basin beneath it for receptions and parties

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    Iwan Baan

    Pavilion interior

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    Iwan Baan

    View of corked pavilion interior and surrounding gardens

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    Iwan Baan

    The pavilion sits in Kensington Gardens, beside the Serpentine Gallery

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    Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

    A rendering of the pavilion and Serpentine Gallery at dusk

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    Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

    An aerial rendering of the pavilion as it sits in the gardens, with water on the pavilion roof reflecting the sky above

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    Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

    Diagrams of foundation excavations and resulting form

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    Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

    Diagram of 11 columns rising from previous pavilion's foundations

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    Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

    Rendering of the cork landscape resulting from previous pavilion foundation remnants

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    Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

    Rendering of the pavilion roof

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    © Ai Weiwei

    Ai Weiwei self portrait

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    © 2011 Marco Grob

    Jacques Herzog (left) and Pierre de Meuron (right)

Tomorrow, the latest Serpentine Gallery Pavilion opens to the public in Kensington Gardens. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron describe their Basel, Switzerland–based firm’s collaborative effort with Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei for their pavilion in London as an archaeological excavation of previous pavilions. Their work exhumes underpinnings of the 11 past exhibits on the same site, with columns extending from a single remnant of each to support the 2012 pavilion’s roof: “On the foundations of each single Pavilion, we extrude a new structure (supports, walls) as load-bearing elements for the roof of our Pavilion—11 supports all told, plus our own column that we can place at will, like a wild card,” say the architects. This roof, which collects a thin, reflective layer of rainwater, can also be drained to form an elevated platform for events and happenings. Beneath it, the designers sculpted a new topography out of the reclaimed foundations and covered the entire surface in cork, a material that the trio chose for its feel and smell, as well as its sustainability.

Ai Weiwei also worked with Herzog & de Meuron on the Beijing National Stadium (aka The Bird’s Nest) in China as part of the 2008 Olympic Games. This exhibition will coincide with the London 2012 games, as well as the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which will bring artists from around the world together in the United Kingdom. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will remain open to visitors through October 14.

For more details and images of the 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, visit ARCHITECT's Project Gallery.