SANAA: Serpentine Pavilion 2009

Exquisite Diagrams

In 2009, the Serpentine Gallery in London commissioned the design of its ninth summer pavilion to Sejima & Nishizawa. Located in Kensington Gardens, the structure was constructed as an undulating aluminum sheet resting on light metallic columns floating amid the trees and reflecting on its surface both the park and the sky.

Inspired in the organic form of an amoeba, the sinuous roof stretched in several directions at the same height as the base of the treetops. Completely permeable to its surroundings, the pavilion became an extension of the park, its vegetation and its colors, reflected atmospherically on its surface. The building, open during three months for outdoor activities, marked out a shaded zone between the ethereal pergola and the white mortar pavement, defining in this way areas with a different character as a cafeteria, a space for music, a breakout area and a small zone for special events. The thin roof of 26 millimeters, carried out with birchwood panels resting on a random mesh of metallic pillars of 50 millimeters in diameter, was covered on both its sides with mirrored aluminum panels.