Zumthor’s design for Serpentine Pavilion revealed

Apr 5, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Designer

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor’s design for the 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London has been unveiled.

Pritzker Prize winner Zumthor plans to construct a pavilion ordered around a central garden, which will be created by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. The low-lying pavilion will have a lightweight timber frame, wrapped with scrim and coated with a black paste mixed with sand. A number of doors and passageways will lead visitors through the building and into the hidden garden – a quiet and contemplative space.

Zumthor said of his proposal: “The concept is the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. The building acts as a stage, a backdrop for the interior garden of flowers and light. Through blackness and shadow one enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of London – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves – full of memory and time.”

The architect added that the calm inner sanctum “aims to help its audience take the time to relax, to observe and then, perhaps, start to talk again.”

Zumthor’s design marks the 11th commission in the Serpentine Gallery’s annual Pavilion series. The highly regarded commission invites some of the world’s leading architects who have not previously built in England to construct a temporary pavilion in the grounds of the Gallery, located at the centre of Kensington Gardens, for a period of three months during the British summer.

Previous architects to have accepted the invitation for the Serpentine Pavilion include Jean Nouvel, SANAA, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, Rem Koolhaas, Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, Oscar Niemeyer, Toyo Ito and Daniel Libeskind.

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