Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei have created the 2012 Serpentine Gallery
Pavilion. It is the twelfth commission in the Gallerys annual series, the worlds first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind.
The design team responsible for the celebrated Beijing National Stadium, which was built for the 2008 Olympic Games has come together again in London in 2012 for the Serpentines acclaimed annual commission, presented as part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. The Pavilion is Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiweis first collaborative built structure in the UK.
This years Pavilion takes visitors beneath the Serpentines lawn to explore the hidden history of its previous Pavilions. Eleven columns characterising each past Pavilion and a twelfth column representing the current structure support a floating platform roof 1.4 metres above ground. The Pavilions interior is clad in cork, a sustainable building material chosen for its unique qualities and to echo the excavated earth. Taking an archaeological approach, the architects have created a design that will inspire visitors to look beneath the surface of the park as well as back in time across the ghosts of the earlier structures.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: It is a great honour to be working with Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, the design team behind Beijings superb Birds Nest Stadium. In this exciting year for London we are proud to be creating a connection between the Beijing 2008 and the London 2012 Games. We are enormously grateful for the help of everyone involved, especially Usha and Lakshmi N. Mittal, whose incredible support has made this project possible.
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion operates as a public space and as a venue for Park Nights, the Gallerys high-profile programme of public talks and events. Connecting to the archaeological focus of the Pavilion design Park Nights will culminate in October with the Serpentine Gallery Memory Marathon, the latest edition of the annual Serpentine Marathon series conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist, now in its seventh year. The Marathon series began in 2006 with the 24-hour Serpentine Gallery Interview Marathon; followed by the Experiment Marathon in 2007; the Manifesto Marathon in 2008; the Poetry Marathon in 2009, the Map Marathon in 2010 and the Garden Marathon in 2011.