The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has, in the last eleven years, become one of architecture’s hot dates in London. This year, four years after their collaboration on the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei again collaborate marking London’s hosting of the games. The syrupy poignancy of the timing is what it is, but what of the pavilion?
Such is the stature of the previous designers of the pavilion that the show has inevitably become something of a muscle act. The culmination of this approach, abdominals, pectorals, and all, was arguably the 2008 pavilion by Frank Gehry. The year after, Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA, and again in 2011 Peter Zumthor, kicked back against the creation of loud, powerful, architectural objects with something more subtle entirely. This year’s pavilion continues in the vein of this critique with a rummage through the bowels of pavilions past. Read more