The Serpentine Pavilion is going global, with its first international debut in Beijing, China. Launched by London’s Serpentine Galleries and Beijing’s WF CENTRAL, this major international collaboration will be designed by multidisciplinary Chinese practice JIAKUN Architects. The inaugural co-commission will be modeled on the Serpentine’s annual pavilion program in London’s Royal Park of Kensington Gardens.



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Every year since 2000, the Serpentine Galleries invites an international architect who has not completed a building in England at the time of the invitation to design a temporary pavilion on its grounds. The inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing took a different approach to architect selection, and instead began with a competition brief seeking designs sensitive to Beijing’s historic and social context as well as the Serpentine Pavilion’s 17-year history. A selection committee that included representatives from the Serpentine Galleries, Hongkong Land, and Made in China, chose JIAKUN Architects’ design.

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The winning design draws inspiration from Confucianism and the Chinese philosophical term of junzi, used to describe the ideal man. According to the press release: “The design is characterized by the figure of the Archer, in the form of a curved cantilever beam that incorporates the forces of elasticity through cables stretched between steel plates. Although modern architecture in Beijing has developed a series of powerful techniques to fight the external forces of fierce winds and unpredictable earthquakes, the Pavilion’s integral structure aims—like the Tai Chi Master—to conquer the harshness of those forces with softness.”

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The inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing will launch in May 2018 at the opening of WF CENTRAL on Wangfujing in Beijing’s Dongcheng District, just 600 meters away from the historic Forbidden City. The temporary public pavilion will be on display for six months.

+ Serpentine Galleries

Images via Serpentine Galleries