london: serpentine gallery pavilion 2012

© serpentine gallery / iwan baan - the serpentine gallery pavilion 2012 by herzog & de meuron and ai weiwei

serpentine gallery is one of london's fabulous must-see venues where to indulge in contemporary art by a seemingly endless lineup of the planet's greatest artists. every year since 2000. the gallery commissions an acclaimed architect to design a pavilion on its expansive lawn as a celebration of great contemporary architecture. this year swiss starchitects herzog & de meuron, arguably best know for the prada flagship store in tokyo's aoyama district and beijing's olympic stadium, teamed up with chinese dissident artist ai weiwei. interestingly, this year’s pavilion takes visitors beneath the serpentine’s lawn to explore the hidden history of its previous pavilions.

eleven columns characterising each past pavilion and a twelfth column representing the current structure, support a floating platform roof that's 1.4 metres above ground. the pavilion’s interior is clad in cork, a sustainable building material chosen for its unique qualities and to echo the excavated earth. taking an archaeological approach, the architects have created a design that will inspire visitors to look beneath the surface of the park as well as back in time across the ghosts of the earlier structures [open through oct 14]. location: kensington gardens, hyde park [kensington].

© serpentine gallery / iwan baan - evocative contemporary architecture