TRIBUTE | The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion was the last commission of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival, a first time collaboration between two artists of this magnitude in the United Kingdom.

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei were the teams responsible of building the Beijing National Stadium, in 2008. And, for the next Olympic Games, London 2012, they decided to be the last commission of the year and the first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind. 

They built a pavilion that honored the eleven pavilions commissioned before theirs, covered by a platform roof 1.4 meters over the ground. 

The interiors were made of cork and sustainable materials, and consisted of twelve columns that represented each of the pavilions commissioned before, since the year 2000. The archaeologist origins of the team were represented by digging below the waterground and building narrow and circular, and long and large spaces, all at the same time, trying not to intervene too much into the natural environment of the park. 

The team wanted to create a design that inspired the visitors to look beneath the surface of the Kensington Gardens park, instead of walking above it. And, while doing it, they wanted to remember them the previous structures, taking a look into the ghosts of the past eleven years. 

The structure was a connection between the brilliant Bird’s Nest Stadium of Beijing 2008 and the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The objective of the Serpentine Pavilion was to become a public space in the parks of London, for professional talks and high-quality park nights.

Since it closed to the public in October 2012, after it was bought by Usha and Lakshmi N. Mitall and entered their private collection, from VXLAB we’re excited to see if the tradition continues and we can see Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei working together again for the next Olympic Games one year from now.