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Zaha's Serpentine Pavilion unveiled

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These are the first photographs of Zaha Hadid's stand-in Serpentine Gallery pavilion, which opens for an exclusive fundraising event tonight.

Designed in collaboration with her right-hand man Patrik Schumacher, the open-air space is a temporary replacement for Ólafur Elíasson and Kjetil Thorsen's own pavilion, which could not be built in time for the start of the gallery's summer season.

Intriguingly, the scheme by artist Elíasson and Snøhetta chief Thorsen - which will open some time next month - was itself a last-minute substitute for a proposed pavilion by legendary German architect/engineer Frei Otto.

Hadid and Schumacher's installation is 5.5m tall and features three fabric parasols, described by the design team as developing 'sculpturally from a small articulated base to a large cantilevered diamond shape'.

It is the second time Hadid has been asked to work at the famous Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens - the first was back in 2000.

The gallery is known for giving up-and-coming and world-renowned architects the chance to build their first projects in the UK. Among the previous 'debutantes' were Toyo Ito, Alvaro Siza and Daniel Libeskind.

by Richard Waite

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