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Serpentine Pavilion goes global as plans for Chinese debut revealed

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The Serpentine Gallery is to build a pavilion outside the UK for the first time, with a debut event in China this spring

Modelled on the annual London showcase, the Serpentine Pavilion Beijing will be designed by Sichuan-based JIAKUN Architects. It will launch in May at the opening of the WF Central development in Beijing’s Dongcheng district and will be on display for six months.

Serpentine Pavilion Beijing is designed as a public space for culture, events and socialising just 600m from the historic Forbidden City.

JIAKUN Architects’ structure will be ‘a physical representation of the traditional pursuit of Junzi’ – or ultra-humane conduct – according to the organiser.

A curved cantilevered beam will incorporate the forces of elasticity through cables stretched between steel plates. The integral structure of the pavilion is designed to ‘conquer harsh conditions with softness’.

The London event, held in Kensington Gardens, has showcased work by Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas among others, and has become a major feature of the architectural calendar.

Previous London-built pavilions have subsequently relocated overseas: Toyo Ito’s 2002 structure (pictured below) moved to France, while Francis Kéré’s 2017 pavilion is on its way to Malaysia.

2002 Serpentine Pavilion Toyo Ito

2002 Serpentine Pavilion Toyo Ito

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