Serpentine Pavilion 2020 Unveiled

John Hill
10. February 2020
Serpentine Pavilion 2020 designed by Counterspace, interior view (Visualization © Counterspace)

Counterspace — the Johannesburg-based firm of Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar — has been selected to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2020, which will be on display in London's Kensington Gardens this summer.

The three women born in 1990 are the youngest ever architects to be commissioned for the annual Serpentine Pavilion, which turns 20 this year — the year the architects turn 30.

Per a statement from Serpentine Galleries, "Counterspace's design will be based on gathering spaces and community spaces around the city, folding London into the Pavilion structure ... and extending a public program across London." 

In the first aspect, the design's shapes are "directly transcribed from existing spaces with particular relevance to migrant and other peripheral communities in London." The Pavilion's extension to other parts of London is literal: "movable small parts will be displaced to neighborhoods across London" to return to the Pavilion in the summer.

The Pavilion will be built of K-Briqs, which are made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste, and cork.

Serpentine Pavilion 2020 designed by Counterspace, exterior view (Visualization © Counterspace)
Sumayya Vally, lead architect on the design, said:

"The pavilion is itself conceived as an event — the coming together of a variety of forms from across London over the course of the Pavilion’s sojourn. These forms are imprints of some of the places, spaces and artifacts which have made care and sustenance part of London’s identity. The breaks, gradients and distinctions in color and texture between different parts of the Pavilion make this reconstruction and piecing together legible at a glance. As an object, experienced through movement, it has continuity and consistency, but difference and variation are embedded into the essential gesture at every turn.

Places of memory and care in Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Whitechapel, Edgware Road, Peckham, Ealing, North Kensington and beyond are transferred onto the Serpentine lawn. Where they intersect, they produce spaces to be together."

Amina Kaskar, Sumayya Vally and Sarah de Villiers of Counterspace (Photo: Justice Mukheli © Counterspace)
Serpentine Pavilion 2020 will be on display in Kensington Gardens, London, from June 11 to October 11, 2020.

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