The Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has been selected to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2019.

The Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, celebrated for his experimental structures that interpret traditional architectural conventions and reflect natural phenomena, has been selected to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2019.

Image Credit: Serpentine Pavilion 2019, Design Render, Exterior and Interior Views © Junya Ishigami + Associates
Image Credit: Serpentine Pavilion 2019, Design Render, Exterior and Interior Views © Junya Ishigami + Associates

Ishigami’s design takes inspiration from roofs, the most common architectural feature used around the world. The design of the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion is made by arranging slates to create a single canopy roof that appears to emerge from the ground of the surrounding Park. Within, the interior of the Pavilion is an enclosed cave-like space, a refuge for contemplation. For Ishigami, the Pavilion articulates his ‘free space’ philosophy in which he seeks harmony between man-made structures and those that already exist in nature.

Describing his design, Ishigami said: ‘My design for the Pavilion plays with our perspectives of the built environment against the backdrop of a natural landscape, emphasising a natural and organic feel as though it had grown out of the lawn, resembling a hill made out of rocks. This is an attempt to supplement traditional architecture with modern methodologies and concepts, to create in this place an expanse of scenery like never seen before. Possessing the weighty presence of slate roofs seen around the world, and simultaneously appearing so light it could blow away in the breeze, the cluster of scattered rock levitates, like a billowing piece of fabric.’

Junya Ishigami (b. 1974) worked as an architect at SANAA before founding the prize-winning Junya Ishigami + Associates in 2004. Winner of the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010, he was the subject of a major and critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in 2018 that is traveling to the Power Station of art in Shanghai later this year. He is known for designs with dream-like qualities that incorporate the natural world, such as landscapes, forests and clouds, in an architectural practice that places humankind as part of nature.

He is the nineteenth architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn in Kensington Gardens. This pioneering commission, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has presented the first UK structures by some of the biggest names in international architecture. In recent years it has grown into a highly-anticipated showcase for emerging talent, from Frida Escobedo of Mexico to Francis Kéré of Burkina Faso and Bjarke Ingels of Denmark, whose 2016 Pavilion was the most visited architectural and design exhibition in the world.

Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel selected this year’s architect with advisors Sir David Adjaye OBE, Lord Richard Rogers and David Glover alongside Julie Burnell (Head of Construction and Buildings, Serpentine Galleries) and Amira Gad (Curator, Exhibitions and Architecture, Serpentine Galleries).

Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel said:

‘We are thrilled to be able to share the designs for Junya Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion – a structure informed by the natural world and situated in the middle of one of London’s greenest spaces: Kensington Gardens. The Pavilion and its accompanying programme will be central to the Serpentine’s General Ecology strand – an ongoing investigation into complex systems, interspecies landscapes and the environment. Alongside this year’s Pavilion, we are thrilled to simultaneously launch Serpentine Augmented Architecture, with Google Arts and Culture, where a winning submission for an unrealised project will be on display. Both projects bring to life a brilliant conjunction of experiments in technology and creative vision. We hope all visitors, of all ages will enjoy the spaces as we continue in our mission to bring art and architecture to the widest audiences.’

Summer at the Serpentine
The Serpentine Pavilion 2019 will once again be a platform for Park Nights, the Serpentine’s annual programme of experimental and interdisciplinary evenings that takes place on selected Fridays. Practitioners in the fields of art, architecture, music, film, theory and dance will be commissioned to create new, site-specific works in response to Ishigami’s design, offering unique ways of experiencing architecture and performance, sponsored by COS. Radical Kitchen also returns to the Pavilion at selected lunchtimes, inviting community groups, artists, activists, writers and architects to form connections through food inspired by the ideas behind the Pavilion design. The Architecture Family Pack and Programme, sponsored by COS, will give children and their families the chance to explore the Serpentine Pavilion from playful and original perspectives.

To coincide with the opening of the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion, the Serpentine Augmented Architecture project in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture, will be on show to the public. The project, supported by Sir David Adjaye OBE, extends the Serpentine’s exploration of architecture and technology with an open call for unrealised projects, in order to look at ways in which Augmented Reality could transform our spatial, social and structural experience of the city, now and in the future. The deadline for submissions is 10am on 25 February.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018