Serpentine Pavilion 2021

Story in brief

In brief

Discover the 2021 Serpentine Summer Pavilion, designed by Johannesburg-based design practice Counterspace. This 7-part virtual story will take you in and around the pavilion, which is a popular meeting place in Kensington Gardens, London. You can explore the space freely and get an idea of how different architectural elements, sights and angles connect together within the structure. Zoom in to examine the different surface materials and abstracted details from sites around London, that have been brought into this architectural experiment.  

Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery has hosted twenty summertime pavilions, commissioned from an architect, who has not yet built in the UK. Earlier pavilions have been designed by Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas,  Herzog & de Meuron, Kazuo Sejima and Bjarke Ingels. They all took up the opportunity to create a temporary pavilion as an experimental space and showcase for architectural innovation in London (only the 2004 proposal by MVRDV did not get realized, as too expensive to build). As a spatial experiment, the Summer Pavilion has become one of the most visited architecture exhibitions in the world, which is free for all in the heart of London. With sponsorship by leading engineering firms, these beautifully erected structures create a strong narrative between their various approaches, a unique dialogue of formal and material influences.

This year the pavilion concept was informed by a collaborative approach with multiple different histories, which the South African design practice Counterspace adopted for this manifold project. The founding principle, 31-year-old Sumayya Vally, is the youngest architect commissioned to design the pavilion. Their design concept has been extended beyond the site in Kensington Gardens as architectural fragments of the pavilion replicated in four different locations across London. The Pavilion is home to Park Nights, a series of experimental events that will take place over the summer, including music, art and poetry performances.

Nikhilesh Haval


Tim Rodber




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