Bjarke Ingels Group has just been announced as the lead designer for 2016’s iteration of the Serpentine Pavilion, an iconic architecture commission that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to London’s Kensington Gardens every summer. However, this year’s Pavilion has a surprising twist. The Serpentine Galleries’ announcement also revealed that the 2016 Pavilion would be joined with an expanded program that includes four new “Summer Houses” built by four other commissioned architects.
Now in its 16th year, the temporary Serpentine Pavilion is one of world’s top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions, and is renowned as a site for cutting-edge architectural experimentation. Every year, an internationally acclaimed architectural practice—that has not yet completed a permanent building in England—is selected to design the 300-square-meter Pavilion and is given a maximum of six months from invitation to complete the structure. The architects are not constrained by budget thanks to generous sponsorship, help-in-kind support, and the eventual sale of the Pavilion. In addition to serving as a design destination, the Pavilion is used as a cafe during the day and a forum for education and entertainment at night.
The new expansion of the Serpentine Pavilion commission will include four 25-square-meter Summer Houses. The buildings will be located a minute’s walk from the Serpentine’s Gallery and will complement the Pavilion. The idea for the Summer Houses were inspired by the classical-style 18th-century Queen Caroline’s Temple located nearby. The four Summer House architectural practices are: Kunlé Adeyemi – NLÉ (Amsterdam/Lagos); Barkow Leibinger (Berlin/New York); Yona Friedman (Paris); and Asif Khan (London). The expanded proposal will be submitted to the Westminster City Council Planning Office and District Surveyor’s Office for planning permissions later this month.
“After 15 years, the Pavilion programme has expanded. It now comprises five structures, each designed by an architect of international renown, aged between 36 and 93,” said Serpentine Galleries co-directors Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist. “The Pavilion, which will be situated on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery, as usual, will be joined by four 25sqm Summer Houses designed in response to Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical-style summer house built in 1734. All projects have been thrilling to commission and will be equally exciting to realise. We cannot wait to unveil them all this summer.”
Images via Serpentine Galleries,© Jonas Bie, Iwan Baan