The Serpentine Gallery summer pavilion 2012

Summer Pavilion 2012 from the air
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, Kensington Gardens, London, UK

It’s summer in the city this week and to add to the good news there’s the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2012 to look forward to. This year the pavilion has been designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, and it looks like it’s going to be another classic.

Opening on the 1st June and running through until the 14th October, the Summer Exhibition 2012 is the twelfth to be commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park. The pavilions are a tour de force of temporary architectural construction and represent the addition of architecture as type of art in itself.


The design team of Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei were previously responsible for the Chinese Olympic stadium, back in 2008, so this year’s summer pavilion is inevitably stunning from the air. However, down on the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery, it’s a sunken warren under the gallery lawns. Twelve columns hold up the shimmering disc shaped roof, with each one representing twelve pavilion commissions to have graced the Serpentine.

Summer Pavilion 2012 at ground level, Serpentine Gallery
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, Kensington Gardens, London, UK

The interior of the sunken pavilion will be constructed entirely of cork to blend in with the earth beneath it and to showcase the material as an environmentally friendly building material.

As usual the 2012 Summer Pavilion will be open as a public space, but it is also scheduled to feature as a part of the Serpentine Gallery’s Park Night, with talks and events throughout the summer.

With the London Olympic Games 2012 taking place during the pavilion’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, the 2012 Summer Pavilion is bound to be one of the most visited yet, especially with the Olympic ties of the Birds Nest Stafium design team.