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In pictures: SANAA's Serpentine Pavilion


Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of leading Japanese practice SANAA admire their Serpentine Pavilion, which opens to the public this Sunday

Leading Japanese architects SANAA were in attendance at the press viewing for this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, the temporary summer cafe and event space commissioned annually by the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, London.

In line with the brief, the pavilion is the first built structure by the Japanese practice in England. The ninth commission in the gallery’s annual architecture commission, the aluminium and stainless steel structure took just six months from contract to completion.

Speaking of the execution of their design, practice founder Kazuyo Sejima said, ‘The reality is more beautiful than I first imagined’.

The structure, whose free and open design co-founder Ryue Nishizawa described as ‘a non-architecture idea, such as water or a rainbow’, will be open to the public in Kensington Gardens until 18 October, before being sold to a private buyer.

Serpentine Gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones said that the pavilion, located just outside the gallery’s home in Kensington Gardens, ‘becomes the public’s town square’ for its three-month stay.

Previous designers include 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.

Click here for a video interview with SANAA about the pavilion design

In pictures: SANAA's Serpentine Pavilion


Readers' comments (5)

  • a very subtle structure, beautiful.

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  • I love the polished aluminium. From the pictures, it looks sort of damp underneath it though. I wonder if it keeps out the rain enough?

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  • The concept of a free flowing structure seemingly floating above the grass - undisturbed by the construction process looked better but the result is still the best I've seen.

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  • its light and innovative architecture, perfect for the open space

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  • Very nice indeed and quite sympathetic to its surroundings.
    A more permanent version with fewer, central supports would also appeal to me.

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