Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013, London

Sou Fujimoto.
Date Built
Kensington Gardens
The 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion was designed by multi award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.  He is the thirteenth architect invited to design a pavilion on the lawn outside the gallery and at 41 the youngest.

The Gallery explains that, "Widely acknowledged as one of the most important architects coming to prominence worldwide, Sou Fujimoto is the leading light of an exciting generation of artists who are re-inventing our relationship with the built environment. Inspired by organic structures, such as the forest, the nest and the cave, Fujimoto's signature buildings inhabit a space between nature and artificiality. ... Occupying some 350 square-metres of lawn in front of the Serpentine Gallery, Sou Fujimoto's delicate, latticed structure of 20mm steel poles will have a lightweight and semi-transparent appearance that will allow it to blend, cloud-like, into the landscape and against the classical backdrop of the Gallery's colonnaded East wing. Designed as a flexible, multi-purpose social space - with a café sited inside - visitors will be encouraged to enter and interact with the Pavilion in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in London's Kensington Gardens."

Fujimoto said of his design,"For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.   The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape."

Writing in the Guardian in June of 2013, Oliver Wainwright says of the pavilion that, "A cloud appears to have dropped out of the sky and landed among the trees in Kensington Gardens, in west London. This hazy lattice of spindly white rods, which hovers above the ground like a digital apparition ... Fujimoto's cloud is somewhat deflated when it meets the real world. But as a powerful distillation of a young architect's ideas and one of the most radical pavilions to date, it sets a promising direction for the Serpentine programme."