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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion a Story of Time and Space
Architectural Harmony Minsuk Cho's 2024 Serpentine Pavilion
Art Stuff 25 Jun 2024

Every summer since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has been a beacon of architectural innovation and artistic expression in London’s Kensington Gardens. This temporary structure, erected on the Serpentine South lawn, serves as a stage for some of the world’s most renowned architects to showcase their creative prowess. From the likes of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry to Jean Nouvel and Bjarke Ingels, each pavilion has been a unique testament to the versatility and imagination inherent in contemporary architecture.

A History of Innovation

The Serpentine Pavilion began as an ambitious project to push the boundaries of design and create a dialogue between architecture and the public. Zaha Hadid’s inaugural pavilion in 2000 set the tone with its dynamic geometry, challenging traditional notions of space and form. Over the years, each pavilion has brought something new to the table: Gehry’s 2008 structure resembled a deconstructed timber ship, while Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 pavilion was an ethereal cloud of white steel rods. These structures have not just been about aesthetic appeal; they have engaged with their environment in profound ways. Peter Zumthor’s 2011 pavilion, for example, created a contemplative garden within its dark, cloistered walls, while BIG’s 2016 pavilion played with the concept of a hollow wall, inviting visitors to explore its labyrinthine interior.

2024: Minsuk Cho’s Archipelagic Void

This year, Minsuk Cho’s “Archipelagic Void” redefines the pavilion concept by creating an open central void surrounded by smaller, adaptable structures, echoing traditional Korean madang courtyards. Built primarily from timber, the five unique ‘islands’ vary in size and form, connected by a central oculus that draws natural light.

Exploring the Islands

The Gallery: Hosts a six-channel sound installation by Jang Young-Gyu, blending natural and traditional Korean sounds.
The Auditorium: A versatile space with built-in benches for gatherings and performances.
A Library of Unread Books: Curated by Heman Chong and Renée Staal, featuring donated unread books.
The Play Tower: A pyramid-shaped structure with bright orange nets for climbing.
The Tea House: Reflects the Serpentine South building’s history as a teahouse.

A Confluence of Tradition and Modernity

Cho’s pavilion merges traditional Korean design with modern architecture, inviting visitors to experience an interconnected space that adapts to various activities. This year’s pavilion continues the tradition of blending architecture, art, and community, offering a fresh perspective on public spaces.

You can find out more about this year’s design via the Serpentine Gallery website here.

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