The Serpentine Gallery has revealed exciting renderings of the 12th annual pavilion to be completed by Swiss practice Herzog & de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which will coincide with the 2012 Olympics this summer.
Working together for the first time since the RIBA Lubetkin Prize winning Beijing National Stadium, which was built for the 2008 Olympics, the trio will take visitors on a historically rich journey, underground, to discover the previous pavilions that have resided in the infamous grounds every summer since 2000.
Through excavation work, the team has uncovered objects, shapes and materials, which are informing the overall aesthetic of the structure and this ambitious project; natural and sustainable cork will cover the interior, while a ‘reflective roof above ground will work simultaneously with a well below ground level to collect the rainwater that is so synonymous with city of London. The roof will be supported by twelve columns that will trace the past and present pavilions.
“Taking an archaeological approach, the architects have created a design that will inspire visitors to look beneath the surface of the park as well as back in time across the ghosts of the earlier structures,” explain Julia Peyton-Jones, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Directors of the Serpentine Gallery.
It’s interesting to see a contemporary practice exploring the historical credentials of a site, considerate of the artists that have exhibited work before them, and using this as inspiration for their own creation. See our recent New Art Venues report, for more exciting art and cultural venues to have emerged around the globe in recent months. – Samantha Fox