Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Counterspace

South African inter-disciplinary architecture studio Counterspace designs the 20th Serpentine Pavilion.

The 20th Serpentine Pavilion designed by the Johannesburg-based architecture studio Counterspace, opened on 11 June and will be available for viewing until 17 October 2021. Led by Sumayya Vally, the studio considers the social and environmental in how it frames its work. Tied to this is its positioning in-between the functional and the speculative; the theoretical and the pragmatic; and the studio’s deep reflection on the historical foundations of cities while imagining possible futures. Vally is the youngest architect to be commissioned for this internationally renowned architecture programme.

Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Counterspace, Exterior View © Counterspace Photo: Iwan Baan.

Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Counterspace, Interior View © Counterspace Photo: Iwan Baan.

The Pavilion design is based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across London. The forms in the Pavilion are a result of abstracting, superimposing and splicing architectural elements, varying in scales of intimacy, form various locations, translating the shapes of London into the Pavilion structure in Kensington Gardens.

The Pavilion references the architecture of markets, restaurants, places of worship, bookshops and local cultural institutions that are particularly significant to diasporic and cross-cultural communities. The commission extends into the city for the first time since the programme started in 2000. Four parts of the Pavilion are installed in selected locations across London to support and facilitate gatherings and impromptu interactions and honour places that have held communities over time.

Sumayya of Counterspace said: “My practice, and this Pavilion, is centred around amplifying and collaborating with multiple and diverse voices from many different histories; with an interest in themes of identity, community, belonging and gathering. The past year has drawn these themes sharply into focus and has allowed me the space to reflect on the incredible generosity of the communities that have been integral to this Pavilion. This has given rise to several initiatives that extend the duration, scale and reach of the Pavilion beyond it physical lifespan. In a time of isolation, these initiatives have deepened the Pavilion’s intents toward sustained collaboration, and I am excited to continue this engagement with the Serpentine’s civic and education teams and our partners of the summer and beyond.”

Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Counterspace, Interior View © Counterspace Photo: Iwan Baan.

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Top: Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet earum
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Bottom: Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia quaeperumqui officiet
earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

RESOURCES

Click here to learn more about the 20th Serpentine Pavilion.

Click here to watch Sumayya Vally talk about her home, Johannesburg.

Click here to watch the press briefing held on 7 June, 2021.

Click here to watch a conversation between Sumayya Vally and the Serpentine’s Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Click here to visit the Counterspace website.

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