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Ai Weiwei and Herzog and de Meuron's Serpentine Pavilion

‘The seemingly random array of built-in cork furniture and steps trace the foundations of past structures’

This is the new Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London, and the twelfth temporary structure to be built outside the gallery for the summer months.

Its creators, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and the Swiss architecture practice Herzog and de Meuron, worked within the existing parameters left by the deconstructed pavilions to create their design.The seemingly random array of built-in cork furniture and steps underneath the canopy trace the foundations of past structures.

Each column relates to one previous pavilion which were designed by architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Liebskind and, most recently, Peter Zumthor, with an extra twelfth column representing this year’s addition to the ranks.

The pavilion will be used for public talks and events and will be open as a public space until 14th October 2012.


The pavilion will be used for performances and as a public space


The individually designed columns and furniture define the space


Cork stools


Detail of the threshold


The overhanging disc roof


Aerial view of the pavilion


Diagrams exploring the generation of the design


The layers of the foundations of previous pavilions


The topography of the cork interior


The roof disk with a 30mm deep film of water


The 2006 pavilion designed by Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond with Arup

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012

The pavilion will be open to the public from 1 June to 14 October 2012

Full review by Owen Hatherley

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