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Serpentine gives up on 2020 pavilion

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For the first time in two decades, the Serpentine Gallery will not host a pavilion in Hyde Park this summer

Counterspace had been named as the architect behind the 2020 pavilion, but the South African practice has now had its project ‘extended into a two-year commission’.

Counterspace will therefore ‘collaborate’ with the Serpentine on ‘a series of off-site and online research projects’ throughout the year before its pavilion is erected in summer 2021.

David Adjaye, pavilion adviser and a trustee of the Serpentine Galleries, said Covid-19 had ‘changed the immediate context’ of the pavilion and that it would be wrong to ‘rush’ to installation as soon as it was safe.

‘The Serpentine has chosen to accept the slowness reshaping society today and utilise it to develop a deeper relationship with the architects,’ Adjaye said.

‘While the circumstances that have prompted this evolution are by no means easy, we believe it is an important opportunity for this Pavilion to stand as a bridge of sorts between either sides of this unfathomably significant time in history.’

Counterspace’s Sumayya Vally, the lead architect on the project, said Covid-19 has ‘brought the Pavilion themes of community and gathering sharply into focus’.

She added that she is ‘exctied to launch a set of initiatives that will redefine and celebrate the role of gathering and the construction and preservation of belonging in times of crisis’.

The Serpentine Pavilion had been set to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with Zaha Hadid’s pavilion having started the tradition in 2000.

This year’s pavilion would have also been the first under the Serpentine’s new chief executive Bettina Korek, who joined from Los Angeles in December.

Korek issued a joint statement with Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist, thanking financial backers and confirming that the Serpentine’s summer party and public programme of performance and lectures had all been canceled.

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