London, England, UK
The collaborative design for the '2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion' by Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron and
Chinese architect Ai Weiwei has been unveiled and will soon be constructed on the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in London, England. Officially opening on June 1 and remaining open to the public through October 14, the structure will be the first by the team to be constructed in the UK, following their previous joint venture for the national stadium in Beijing, China.
Visitors will submerge five feet beneath the Kensington Gardens to experience the hidden history of the preceding pavilions of the annual series, represented by eleven columns. A twelfth symbolizing the current pavilion will support a platform roof with a reflective surface of water which floats 1.4 meters above the recessed floor plane, visible to people on the lawn of the park above. The water may be drained as needed transforming the roof into an impromptu dance floor or event space.
Generating an archeological atmosphere, individuals will explore the underworld of the site while traveling back in time
to witness the expired existence of the previous structures. Foundations from the circular, long, narrow and hollow building footprints will be uncovered and reconstructed. The unique landscape from the layers of history inherently form places to sit and relax. The interior will be clad with cork, a warm and sustainable material intended to evoke the imagery of excavated earth.
'Every year since 2000, a different architect has been responsible for creating the Serpentine Gallery’s summer pavilion for
Kensington Gardens. That makes eleven pavilions so far, our contribution will be the twelfth. So many pavilions in so many different shapes and out of so many different materials have been conceived and built that we tried instinctively to sidestep the unavoidable problem of creating an object, a concrete shape.' - Herzog & de Meuron + Ai Weiwei.