• Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010 by Jean Nouvel
    Serpentine Gallery, London
    Jul 10, 2010 to Oct 17, 2010
    Serpentine Gallery

Jean Nouvel, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, 2010, London. © Ateliers Nouvel, Photo: John Offenbach.

In 2010—the Serpentine's 40th Anniversary—the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is designed by world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel. The 2010 Pavilion is the 10th commission in the Gallery’s annual series, the world’s first and most ambitious architectural program of its kind. It is the architect’s first completed building in the UK. The Pavilion commission is an international site for architectural experimentation and follows a long tradition of Pavilions by some of the world’s greatest architects. The immediacy of the commission—a maximum of six months from invitation to completion—provides a unique model worldwide.

The design for the 2010 Pavilion is a contrast of lightweight materials and dramatic metal cantilevered structures. The entire design is rendered in a vivid red that, in a play of opposites, contrasts with the green of its park setting. In London, the color reflects the iconic British images of traditional telephone boxes, post boxes, and London buses. The building consists of bold geometric forms, large retractable awnings, and a sloped freestanding wall that stands 12m above the lawn. Striking glass, polycarbonate, and fabric structures create a versatile system of interior and exterior spaces, while the flexible auditorium will accommodate the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights and Marathon and the changing summer weather.

Nouvel’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion operates as a public space, a café, and as a venue for Park Nights, the Gallery’s acclaimed programme of public talks and events, which attracts up to 250,000 visitors each summer. The Pavilion design highlights the idea of play with its incorporation of traditional French outdoor table-tennis tables. The pavilion was on view July 10 through October 17, 2010.

Jean Nouvel (b.1945, Fumel, France) studied at the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris. From 1967 to 1970, he worked as an assistant and then as project manager to the acclaimed architects Claude Parent and Paul Virilio. Nouvel has headed his own architectural practice since 1970. In 1994 he established Ateliers Jean Nouvel, which is now one of the largest architectural practices in France with offices worldwide. Ateliers Jean Nouvel specializes in the fields of architecture, urban design, landscape design, industrial design and interior design.

Nouvel’s body of work is unparalleled in its innovation and range. His approach is characterized by a conceptual rigor, rather than by an overarching aesthetic. He emphasizes research, analysis, and discussion, creating designs that are highly individual to each project. A key part of Nouvel’s process is his embrace of other disciplines, including music, literature, and the moving image.

The Serpentine Gallery provides free access to the very best of British and international talent across art forms, pushing traditional gallery boundaries through experimentation and participation.

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