Engineer to the stars Cecil Balmond will not be involved in the design of this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, despite working on five of the six previous showcase schemes.
It is the first time since 2001 that the deputy chair of Arup has not collaborated with the architect chosen to draw up plans for the prestigious project in Kensington Gardens, London.
The news will not come as a particular surprise following the gallery's decision in January (Frei Otto selected for Serpentine Pavilion
) to appoint German architect Frei Otto, a renowned engineer in his own right, to design this summer's pavilion.
It is understood, however, that the 81-year-old RIBA Gold Medallist will still work alongside Arup's Martin Manning - a long-term collaborator with Otto. There are also rumours that an unnamed artist is part of the design team.
Each year the Serpentine Gallery approaches an architect who has not previously worked in the UK to design a show-stopping, temporary event space in front of the main gallery building.
Balmond's influential working relationship with the gallery on the high-profile project dates back to 2001 when he helped Daniel Libeskind with the designs for his summer pavilion.
He has since worked with Toyo Ito, lvaro Siza with Eduardo Souto de Moura, Oscar Niemeyer and Rem Koolhaas.by Richard Waite