Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron have revealed their plans for this summer's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion which opens on June 1. This year’s Pavilion will take visitors beneath the Serpentine lawn into a cork clad interior to explore the concealed history of the previous 11 Pavilions built on the site.
Taking an archaeological rather than traditional architectural approach, the plan involves excavating down to groundwater level, revealing buried traces of the past eleven annual pavilions and creating a well at the bottom that will also collect rainwater. A pool of water will cover the surface of the circular roof, supported just 1.4 metres above the ground by twelve columns (representing pavilions past and present). The water can be drained to enable public events to take place on the platform. The pavilion opens on 1 June and will remain in Kensington Gardens until 14 October.
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 Beijing’s superb Bird’s 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.” Mittal, also the main financial backer of Anish Kapoor's Orbit Tower in the Olympic Village plans to buy this year's structure when it closes to the public in October.
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