Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Last weekend I took myself to London to throw myself round a series of exhibitions. One of the highlights was going to see the 2011 Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens by Peter Zumthor. I’d only seen shots of the outside and have to admit I was a bit concerned it was going to be a rather boring black box. Fortunately while from the outside it appears to be a plain black box punctured by rectangular openings on two sides it has a more interesting interior.

Going through one of the entrances you find yourself in a passageway that runs around the entire outside of the Pavilion openings into the interior staggered from the exterior lead into a rectangular courtyard.

The outer edge of the courtyard, below the buildings inward sloping roof, has continual bench seating broken only by the entrances. Simple chairs and tables are arranged around the edges. At the heart of the courtyard is a long thin bed planted densely with a variety of plants of different heights and colours.

I managed to get to see the gallery on two trips to the park. It reminds me of a cloister but as though designed for monks who have a very modernist, minimalist aesthetic taste. With its inward sloping roof I’d have been interested to see what the interior is like during a heavy rainstorm. I imagine that water races off the roofs, especially at the corners.

This years Pavilion will be at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens London from July to October and entry is free.

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