Serpentine Summer Pavilion is an architecture exhibition, requiring a generous sponsor and an architect able to execute an idea in six months. Eligible architects (i.e. who have not yet exhibited in London) might have the plans for their ideal pavilion waiting to be realised, of course. The exhibited project often seems to be an extension of ongoing research. It’s a rare exhibition concept, allowing to showcase an experimental building on a historic site right in the heart of London.
This year the Pavilion is by architect Lina Ghotmeh, originally from Lebanon, and now based in Paris. Her circular design in timber takes its inspiration from structures in nature, creating a formal play with scale and a connection with the surrounding London parkland. Echoing and amplifying the form of a palm leaf, the roof panels are placed pleated over the diagonal rafters. Underneath a wide open space is supported by a carefully crafted structural system all in timber, designed in collaboration with engineering firm AECOM.
Lina Ghotmeh was one of the architects in the winning team behind the Estonian National Museum, which launched her career in 2016. Since then she has received several awards, and in 2021 her work was exhibited at the MAXXI in Rome and the Venice Architecture Biennale. Gothmeh’s recent projects include the ’Stone Garden’ building in Beirut, the Atéliers Hermès in Normandy, and the ’Réalimenter Masséna’ wooden tower in Paris, which all exemplify an innovative use of materials and structural systems.