Architecture

First foreign Serpentine Pavilion will be built in China this year

The Serpentine Pavilion programme is launching in Beijing, with an inaugural commission by Chinese studio Jiakun Architects to open in May this year.

The arched pavilion will be erected outside WF Central, a luxury shopping and hotel complex in the Dongcheng district of the Chinese capital, from May to October 2018.

The design comprises an arc of curving ribs, tethered to a base plate by cables. The concept is intended as a “physical representation of the traditional pursuit of Junzi” – a Chinese philosophical term meaning morally exemplar or humane.

This will be the first Serpentine Pavilion to be built outside the UK and, like the annual editions in London’s Kensington Gardens, it will be used to host a programme of public events.

The Serpentine Galleries has announced the expansion of their popular summer pavilion program, collaborating with Beijing’s WF Central to commission the inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing. The first Serpentine Pavilion to be built outside of the Galleries’ Kensington Gardens home in London, the BeijingPavilion will be located just 600 meters away from the historic Forbidden City in the Dongcheng District, where it will host a program of cultural activities and events.

The inaugural pavilion has been designed by emerging Chinese studio JIAKUN Architects, led by architect Liu Jiakun. Drawing both from the historical and social of Beijing and from the storied 17-year history of the Serpentine Pavilion commission, the design features an arched form that balances forces of tensions and compression.

The winning design by Sichuan practice Jiakun Architects was selected by a committee of eight, including the Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist, CEO Yana Peel and architect David Adjaye.

The Serpentine Pavilion programme was initiated in 2000 by former Serpentine Galleries director Julia Peyton-Jones, and has since given architects including Peter Zumthor, Frank Gehry, SANAA and Sou Fujimoto the chance to build in the UK for the first time.

A month after its critically-lauded run came to a close, Francis Kéré’s 2017 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion has found a permanent home halfway across the globe.

As reported by the Star, the structure has been purchased by Kuala Lumpur-based Ilham Gallery, who are now searching for a permanent site of the pavilion in Malaysia.

In a video series shot by Dezeen, Peyton-Jones revealed the stories behind all the pavilions created for the programme between 2000 and 2015.

Last year’s pavilion was created by Burkinabe architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, and featured curved blue walls and a tree-inspired structure.

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