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Zaha bags planning for new Serpentine gallery

[First look] Zaha Hadid has scooped planning permission for this 900m² scheme to create a new exhibition space for the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London

Called the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, the project will overhaul the park’s nineteenth century Magazine building and add a new lightweight pavilion. The facility will be ‘just yards away’ from the gallery’s current home, also in Kensington Gardens (read the full planning permission here).

Hadid said: ‘I am absolutely delighted the plans have been granted permission. This is an important milestone for the project that allows the Serpentine Gallery to further develop its acclaimed cultural programmes. I would like to thank all those whose hard work has made this possible both at Westminster Council and the Serpentine Gallery.’

Julia Peyton-Jones, director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery added: ‘We are delighted that Zaha Hadid’s visionary designs for the Serpentine Sackler Gallery will be realised here in the heart of London. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the Gallery to create an exciting new platform for contemporary culture for the UK and beyond.’

Zaha’s extension will provide a café or restaurant and social space to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

This will ‘complement’ the historic structure, which will be refurbished and completed with a new north wing emphasising the oldest part of the building as a ‘central citadel’ – according to the gallery

The pavilion structure is covered by a lightweight tensile membrane that ‘playfully undulates’ at times dipping down to touch the ground it is also claimed.

In a report, Westminster City Council said of the designs: ‘The proposals will enable an important listed building, in a highly sensitive landscape setting, to be refurbished and brought into public use, and will enhance Westminster’s role as a major cultural destination. It is an overwhelming opportunity to enhance the significance and re-establish a more formal landscape setting of this currently partly redundant and undervalued heritage asset and would provide a national public benefit.’

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