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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 is designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of leading Japanese architecture practice SANAA. The Pavilion, which is sponsored by NetJets Europe, opens on 12 July on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn where it will remain until 18 October.
Describing their structure the architects said: ‘The Pavilion is floating aluminium, drifting freely between the trees like smoke. The reflective canopy undulates across the site, expanding the park and sky. Its appearance changes according to the weather, allowing it to melt into the surroundings. It works as a field of activity with no walls, allowing uninterrupted view across the park and encouraging access from all sides. It is a sheltered extension of the park where people can read, relax and enjoy lovely summer days.’
Sejima and Nishizawa have created a stunning Pavilion that resembles a reflective cloud or a floating pool of water, sitting atop a series of delicate columns. The metal roof structure varies in height, wrapping itself around the trees in the park, reaching up towards the sky and sweeping down almost to the ground in various places. Open and ephemeral in structure, its reflective materials make it sit seamlessly within the natural environment, reflecting both the park and sky around it.
The Pavilion will be the architects’ first built structure in the UK and the ninth commission in the Gallery’s annual series of Pavilions, the world’s first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind that annually gives preeminent architects their debut in this country and brings the best of contemporary architecture 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 through Knight Frank, 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 realise the Pavilion.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: ‘Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa’s design embraces the parkland around the Serpentine Gallery as never before with an extraordinarily innovative design, which reveals the subtle play on light and perception so characteristic of their work. This Pavilion will be a wonderful addition to London’s landscape this summer. It is our dream come true.’
Separate areas within the Pavilion contain spaces for a café and an auditorium, where the Park Night events programme will be presented, including performances, talks, film screenings and the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon.
Sejima and Nishizawa’s pioneering buildings have created an architecture that marries aesthetic simplicity with technical complexity, defining a new architectural language which plays with light and perception. Sought after by high-profile clients the world over, from the Louvre Museum in Lens, France, to the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, USA, SANAA’s projects are open stages which make visible the connection between the built structure, the users and the natural environment. Sejima, who in her early days studied at the Japan Women's University and worked with architect Toyo Ito, designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2002, began collaborating with Nishizawa in 1995. The architects are working with the structural design and engineering firm SAPS, led by Mutsuro Sasaki, and with the Arup team, led by David Glover and Ed Clark with Cecil Balmond, to realise this project.
NetJets Europe is the title sponsor for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009. Mark Booth, Executive Chairman, said: ‘Sejima and Nishizawa’s design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2009 is truly breathtaking. The incredible light and openness of the concept will make for a stunning structure which will raise the bar even higher for the much-anticipated Pavilion. Design is an area that we’re passionate about at NetJets: we’re firmly focussed on how we can bring world-class design to our customers’ flight experience; just as the Serpentine Pavilion brings world class architecture to London. We’re delighted to be a partner in this project and are looking forward to seeing the finished Pavilion.’
Arup Partner Ed Clark commented: ‘Arup's eighth year of commitment to the Serpentine Pavilion reflects our belief in the project and the positive experience our teams get from collaborating with some of the most exciting architects of our time. This year's Pavilion does not disappoint and reflects the exciting dynamism that SANAA bring to all of their projects.’
Peter Rogers, Director of Stanhope plc, will donate his expertise to all aspects of the Pavilion. He said: ‘The Serpentine Pavilion is a unique project whose innovative and challenging designs transcend normal building projects as well as fusing art and architecture in an exciting built form.’
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission was conceived by Serpentine Gallery Director, Julia Peyton-Jones, in 2000. It is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and designers. It is unique worldwide and presents the work of an international architect or design team who, at the time of the Serpentine Gallery's invitation, has not completed a building in England. The Pavilion architects to date are: Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un- realised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, 2000. Each Pavilion is sited on the Gallery’s lawn for three months and the immediacy of the process – a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a peerless model for commissioning architecture.
Park Nights, the Gallery’s acclaimed programme of public talks and events, will take place in Sejima and Nishizawa’s Pavilion, and will culminate with the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon in October, the latest in the series of the Gallery’s annual Marathon events. In 2006 the Park Nights programme included the now legendary 24-hour Serpentine Gallery Interview Marathon, convened by Hans Ulrich Obrist and architect Rem Koolhaas, which was followed, in 2007, by the Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon presented by artist Olafur Eliasson and Obrist, which featured experiments performed by leading artists and scientists. In 2008, Obrist led over 60 participants in the Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon.

Drawings by SANAA, courtesy by Serpentine Gallery, London
Photo of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa © Takashi Okamoto
Serpentine Galleries Pavilion History
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion LondonSerpentine Pavilion architects to date are:
If you haven't already clicked on the photo strip at the top of the page, for the gallery of photos and drawings, enter here
Buildings for cultural activities
Buildings for other cultural activities
Commercial buildings
Bars, cafeterias
Other architectural structures
Pavilions, kiosks, facilities
2009 - 2009
"SANAA. 2009", Serpentine Gallery Pavilions. Visions of new architecture. 2000-2013, supplement A+U. Architecture and Urbanisme 9/2013, september 2013, pp. 56-69
Peter Buchanan, "Tectónica del espectáculo. Los pabellones de la Serpentine / Tectonics of Spectacle. The Serpentine Pavilions", Arquitectura Viva 141, 3/2011 [Espacios efímeros / Ephemeral Spaces], pp. 28-41
El Croquis 155, 2011 [SANAA. Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa. 2008-2011. Arquitectura inorganica / Inorganic architecture]
"Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009. Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa [SANAA]. London, United Kingdom 2009", El Croquis 155, 2011 [SANAA. Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa. 2008-2011. Arquitectura inorganica / Inorganic architecture], pp. 18-27
SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima, Ryue Nishizawa, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009"Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA. Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, 2009", Lotus International 142, june 2010 [Minimun], pp. 84-87
Josephine Minutillo, "Ethereal architecture: into thin air", Architectural Record 11/2009, november 2009, pp. 118-128
Johanna Agerman, "SANAA's summer pavilion", Icon 75, september 2009, pp. 34-36
Italia Rossi, "Il padiglione estivo della Serpentine Gallery di Londra", L'industria delle costruzioni 409, settembre-ottobre/september-october 2009 [Rassegna italiana 4], "Argomenti" pp. 113-115
Rob Gregory, "Serpentine Pavilion. Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa SANAA", Architectural Review 1350, august 2009, pp. 82-86
Christine Murray, "Grappling with an open brief: SANAA on its Serpentine Pavilion", Architectural Review 1349, july 2009, pp. 14-15
"Serpentine Pavilion 2009. London, U.K., Kazuyo Sejima+Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA", GA Document 108, june 2009 [International 2009]
Serpentine Gallery
SAPS - Mutsuro Sasaki
Arup - David Glover, Ed Clark, Cecil Balmond
Installation period: 12 July / 18 October 2010

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion London SANAA Kazuo Sejima Ryue Nishizawa

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion London
See others Serpentine Gallery Pavilions
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