This year—the Serpentine’s 40th Anniversary—the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. This 2010 Pavilion is the 10th commission in the Gallery’s annual series. It will be the architect’s first completed building in the UK.
The Pavilion commission has become an international site for architectural experimentation and follows a long tradition of Pavilions by some of the world’s greatest architects. The immediacy of the commission – a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a unique model worldwide.
The design for the 2010 Pavilion is a contrast of lightweight materials and dramatic metal cantilevered structures. The entire design is rendered in a vivid red that, in a play of opposites, contrasts with the green of its park setting. In London, the color reflects the iconic British images of traditional telephone boxes, post boxes and London buses.
The building consists of bold geometric forms, large retractable awnings and a sloped freestanding wall that stands 12m above the lawn. Striking glass, polycarbonate and fabric structures create a versatile system of interior and exterior spaces, while the flexible auditorium will accommodate the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights and Marathon and the changing summer weather.
Nouvel’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will operate as a public space, a café and as a venue for Park Nights, the Gallery’s acclaimed program of public talks and events, which attracts up to 250,000 visitors each summer. The pavilion design highlights the idea of play with its incorporation of traditional French outdoor table-tennis tables.
The Pavilion opens on July 10 on the Serpentine Gallery lawn, where it will remain until October. Jean Nouvel will be discussing the groundbreaking design of the Pavilion at a talk, on Monday July 12 at 5pm.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “It is an honour to bring Nouvel’s globally acclaimed work 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, 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 realize the Pavilion. On the occasion of this 10th anniversary, the Pavilion program this year is being supported by Arts Council England, through its Sustain program.
Architect: Jean Nouvel
Ateliers Jean Nouvel Design Team
Gaston Tolila, Project Partner
Ute Rinnebach, Project Manager
with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery
Julie Burnell, Serpentine Gallery