Peter Zumthor’s Design Revealed for the 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Courtesy of Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Pritzker Prize winning architect Peter Zumthor’s design for the 11th Serpentine Gallery Pavilion was revealed today. A design that ‘aims to help its audience take the time to relax, to observe and then, perhaps, start to talk again – maybe not’, the materials are significant in aiding the design which emphasizes the role the senses and emotions play in our experience of architecture. The Pavilion will be Zumthor’s first completed building in the UK

Zumthor shared that ‘the concept for this year’s Pavilion is the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. The building acts as a stage, a backdrop for the interior garden of flowers and light. Through blackness and shadow one enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves – full of memory and time.’

Stay tuned to ArchDaily for more images and news on Zumthor’s design for the Pavilion.  Our previous coverage of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion can be found here, including  Jean Nouvel’s Serpentine Gallery of 2010, and SANAA’s 2009 Serpentine Gallery.

Courtesy of Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

This year’s Pavilion is the 11th commission in the Gallery’s annual series, the world’s first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind. It will be the architect’s first completed building in the UK and will include a specially created garden by the influential Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.

At the heart of Peter Zumthor’s Pavilion is a garden that the architect hopes will inspire visitors to become observers. With a refined selection of materials Zumthor creates contemplative spaces that evoke the spiritual dimension of our physical environment. As always, Zumthor’s aesthetic goal is to customise the building precisely to its purpose as a physical body and an object of emotional experience.

Materials have always played an evocative as well as an essential role in the buildings designed by Zumthor. The 2011 Pavilion will be constructed of a lightweight timber frame wrapped with scrim and coated with a black paste mixed with sand. Exterior and interior walls with staggered doorways will offer multiple paths for visitors to follow, gently guiding them to a central, hidden inner garden. The covered walkways and seating surrounding this central space will create a serene, contemplative environment from which visitors may look onto the richly planted sunlit garden, the heart and focus of the building.

With this Pavilion, as with previous structures such as the famous Thermal Baths at Vals, Switzerland, or the Bruder Klaus Chapel in Mechernich, Germany, Zumthor has emphasised the sensory and spiritual aspects of the architectural experience, from the precise yet simple composition and ‘presence’ of the materials, to the handling of scale and the effect of light.

The Serpentine’s Pavilion commission, conceived in 2000 by Gallery Director Julia Peyton-Jones, has become an international site for architectural experimentation and follows a decade of Pavilions by some of the world’s greatest architects. Each pavilion is sited on the Gallery’s lawn for three months and the immediacy of the commission – a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a unique model worldwide.

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “It is an honour and a great joy to be working with Peter Zumthor on the 11th Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. The commission allows us allowed to connect with best architects in the world and each year is an exciting and completely new experience. Zumthor’s plans will realise an exquisite space for the public to enjoy throughout the summer.”

Zumthor’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will operate as a public space and as a venue for Park Nights, the Gallery’s high-profile programme of public talks and events. Park Nights will culminate in the annual Serpentine Gallery Marathon in October, now in its sixth year. In 2006 the Park Nights programme included the renowned 24-hour Serpentine Gallery Interview Marathon, convened by Hans Ulrich Obrist and architect Rem Koolhaas; in 2007, by the Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon presented by artist Olafur Eliasson and Hans Ulrich Obrist; in 2008, Obrist led over 60 participants in the Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon. This was followed in 2009 by the Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon and in 2010 by the Serpentine Gallery Map Marathon.

Peter Zumthor
Born in Basel in 1943, Zumthor trained as a cabinetmaker at the shop of his father, as a designer and architect at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel and at Pratt Institute, New York. In 1979 he established his own practice in Haldenstein, Switzerland.
Major Buildings: Protective Housing for Roman Archaeological Excavations, Chur, Switzerland, 1986; Sogn Benedetg Chapel, Sumvitg, Switzerland, 1988; Therme Vals, Switzerland, 1996; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, 1997; Swiss Sound Box, Swiss Pavilion, Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany, 2000; Kolumba Art Museum, Cologne, Germany, 2007; Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, Wachendorf, Germany, 2007.
Major Awards: Carlsberg Architectural Prize, Copenhagen, 1998; Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture, Barcelona, 1998; Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award, Wood in Culture Association, Finland, 2006; Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association, 2008; The Pritzker Architecture Prize, The Hyatt Foundation, 2009.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Commission
There is no budget for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission. It is paid for by sponsorship and sponsorship help-in-kind, as well as the sale of the finished structure which does not cover more than 40% of its cost. The Serpentine Gallery collaborates with a range of companies and individuals whose support makes it possible to realise the Pavilion. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and designers. The series is unique worldwide and presents the work of an international architect or design team who has not completed a building in at the time of the Gallery’s invitation. The Pavilion architects to date are: Jean Nouvel, 2010; Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA, 2009; Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un-realised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and
Zaha Hadid, 2000.

Arup
Peter Zumthor will collaborate with engineering firm Arup to realise the 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. The Arup team, led by David Glover, Ed Clark and Chris Neighbour, will provide all engineering and specialist technical advice for the project. Arup Director Ed Clark commented: “It is a privilege to support the Pavilion again in 2011. This is our tenth year of commitment to the programme which reflects our belief in the project and the positive experience our teams get from working with some of the most renowned architects of our time. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity. We look forward to working with Peter and helping him to deliver his first building in the UK.”

Stanhope
Peter Rogers, Director of Stanhope, will donate his expertise to all aspects of the Pavilion. He said: “The Serpentine Pavilion is a unique project whose innovative and challenging designs transcend normal building projects as well as fusing art and architecture in an exciting built form.”

Mace
Stephen Pycroft, Chairman and Chief Executive at Mace, said: “I am delighted that Mace is involved with the construction of the Serpentine Pavilion for a third year and look forward to working with Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner. This is a prestigious annual project in London and is an important part of Mace’s arts and culture portfolio, playing to our strength of delivering complex projects.”

Cite: Minner, Kelly. "Peter Zumthor’s Design Revealed for the 2011 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion" 04 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=124785>

19 comments

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Well, I guess you are waiting for booming-shiny-sharp-sexy 3d images.

      Zumthor builds, doesn’t blurbs.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Well, if Zumthor build, he is not the only one. So it is not a feat.
        Anyway I suppose I am looking for something interesting. Is it a shame ? Can you answer to my question, instead of taking that tone ?

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Read the article above – it explains exactly what the interest is!

      Basically, get away from the city sensory overload and enjoy a quiet space…

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Well, that makes no sense since the pavilion is in a PARK and it usually is so crowded so good luck with that. I find the Zumthor rhetoric so misleading. The project certainly doesnt have a good parti, maybe the construction technique and materials will be something worth visiting.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        judging the parti from 2 images of the same space? you are not very convincing.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        judging the parti from 2 images of the same space? you are not very convincing.

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    “What is the interest?” ?
    Peter Zumthor is one of few architects today that truly deals with the spirituality and harmony of spaces like the Masters, something many architects does not fully understand. You claim you are looking for something interesting, you are clearly blind Mr.Gehry if you don’t see what is interesting here. I don’t see the point in even trying to explain what is interesting here to someone who is blind for beauty in mind.

    “All material in nature,
    the mountains and the streams and the air and we,
    are made of Light which has been spent,
    and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to Light.”
    - Louis Kahn

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I can believe that Zumthor “deals with the spirituality and harmony of spaces like the Masters,”. the only problem is that you see nothing of this in his project.
      Always be careful to separate the SPEECH for sale, and what is really BUILT. It Help you avoid any manipulation.

      • Thumb up Thumb down +1

        You don’t see it because you have to experience it.
        This is a concept picture, what are you expecting from it? The total full experience of the real building?
        Wait for it and go for a visit!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I could imagine a response on the ground- to the roof opening shape. And meditative rock gardens with one tree.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i like the height of the landscape. when you sit down you do not see across the room, but only the sky, nature, and your companion.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down -3

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Don`t forget about the Columba Museum, the Kunsthaus Bregenz, or his museum in Chur, which are in city context. I don`t think he has any problems with that ;) , but he has the possibility to pick projects which are really interesting for him, probably shopping centre doesn`t enter this category, because of its commercial character.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        all of the above you have mentioned are pretty much hermetically sealed objects; Zumthor shuts the city off from his precious interiors. it seems like there is a real reluctance to actually engage with real problems that face cities in his architecture; this is why i think he can’t be put in the same bracket as people like koolhaas who use their work as a testing ground to really push what their architecture can do for the built environment. i guess my main problem with zumthor is he seems at pains to portray himself as saintly, to me it comes across as aloof and remote. yes, he’ll be remembered for beautiful buildings, but an architectural pioneer he ain’t.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I just ask a question… or two:

    - Does an architect have to accept to design the full scope of possibly existing type of building to be a great designer?

    - Does Zumthor portrayed himself as saintly anywhere? (Maybe I’ve been missing something)

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    The banter here on Zumthor is classic, I think Err has a strong point when he critiques the treatment of the environment around the building. When compared even to other Swiss Architects (say Herzog and de Meuron)Zumthor falls short. I have come to appreciate that architecture is about people (as Niemeyer says) and as far as people goes, the space IN BETWEEN buildings is VERY important.

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