The 2009 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / SANAA

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Architecture photographer Iwan Baan has been documenting the Pavilion, a series of temporary structures commissioned to renowned architects that sits on the Gallery’s lawn for three months, hosting a series of public talks and events at the park.  And now he just shared with us his photo set for this years pavilion, which opens to the public tomorrow July 12th, and will stay open until October 18.

For this year, the pavilion was commissioned to Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, .

An undulating aluminum structure sits on top of a delicate column system, providing a series of connected spaces while keeping a continuous view through the park. The aluminum reflects the trees, the ground and the sky, for a dramatic blending effect as you can see of the photos.

You can see Iwan’s photo sets for previous versions of the pavilion: Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond with ARUP (2006), Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen (2007) and Frank Ghery (2008).

More pictures after the break.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
Cite: Basulto, David. "The 2009 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / SANAA" 11 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • ale gaddor

    mmmmmm next!
    no comments

  • Yorik

    I wonder how that thin sheet stays rigid…

  • d

    beautiful,awesome,inspiring in many levels..

  • Fino

    I think this is the type of project that must be experienced in person because of it’s personal perceptive qualities. I believe the pictures are only telling a fraction of the whole story.

  • rek

    i really like this proyect, a pavilion for real, not a sculpture like we are used to, like Fino said, this is one of the works that must be seen in person, anyway i have no doubt is the best pavilion i´ve seen in a while

  • Kiko Sanchez

    I wonder how the reflective material of this roof structure is going to affect the plants in this small park. I have seen cases where highly reflective glass buildings destroy the natural environment that surrounds them.

  • biboarchitect

    the worst serpentine gallery ever! its even worse than Gehry’s!

    • David

      your problem, cant see the architecture.

      • biboarchitect

        hahahahahaha … thanks mR. eXpert..

        you serious??

    • tonio

      Looks very poetic to me… :-)

      … as Gerhy’s pavilion was so heavy… :-(

      • tikvarski

        i agree with biboarchitect, however i don’t find gehry’s pavilion bad

      • theChavacano

        Gerhy´s pavillion only had one problem it was so Gerhy :)

    • YOURMom’s lover

      um no

  • Alex

    It is a simple…architecture thing.But I can’t see anything important…it is so…empty…a mirror on some metal pillars.That’s it.I do not see what can be so beautiful about it,I’m sorry,it’s just my opinion

  • William Bell

    It doesn’t blow my mind off! but it’s not that bad either..

  • kimbo

    i wonder how the rain will sound, as it cascades…in my mind eye there s such a graceful, vertical pour from an initial blatt sound…before harvested water trickles to a billabong or two~ awaiting the arrival of fairyfish, swans and moorhens

    • d

      isn’t it suppose to be a summer pavilion? so i think it has a very low expectation on rain. But, a very nice point though..

      • tootrue

        but it’s in london, so..; what summer?

  • Amandazz

    god kimbo you’re making me hungry.

  • Amandazz

    ….i mean thirsty.

  • Rich

    Beautiful, but why those ugly potted plants???

  • Dove

    @ Fino.
    Agreed. Definately think this is one you have to experience through actually being there, rather than just looking at a few images. I’m going to get down there when I can. I like the work of SANAA though, so I may be biased haha.

  • olivier

    I find it really nice. It make me think of the sculpture in Chicago shape like a giant bean (by Anish Kapoor).

    Sometime, even the simpliest structure can create the most estonishing spaces. And hopefully this pavillon is one of them. Like Fino say, you probably have to experience it to fully appreciate it.

  • Lucas Gray

    This seems like a logical design by SANAA, relating to their other architecture. It is a super simple streamlined design allowing the viewer to focus on what is important – the surrounding landscape. I appreciate the thought about the sound this pavilion would make with falling rain. Architecture that engages more senses than merely sight brings a whole new language to the conversation.

  • zn

    It seems to me pretty much a basic solution…

  • g dehls

    looks beautiful but it’s hard to imagine that they will scrap it after a few months, what a waste of resources,

  • jetza

    beautiful!seems like water…

  • corto

    wise architectural detailing, and awesome knowladge of material…

    I think the trick is that you can’t get a flat and regular reflection beneath an irregular one-dimensioned surface.

    If you have a thin metal reflective metal sheet; the reflections will be wavy. This “pulse” of the surface is making the whole experience something extraordinary.

    Watch those thin columns as they get curved through the depths of the reflection… nice…

    I really like SANAA…

  • yoshi

    oscar did that decades ago….
    i love sanaa, but you have always to inovate…
    i prefer the others pavillions;;;

  • De Laugier

    I think SANAA has made something very fundamental, a simple, deliberate answer to that favorite question of architects: “what is architecture?”
    Comparisons with other architects like frank ghery seem pointless and misdirected. This pavilion is part of a long established discourse on architecture that includes buildings like farnsworth and the Parthenon.
    I too wish it were not so temporary, but perhaps its fleeting existence is also part of it’s poetry.

    Compare the first photo set of this project to iwab baan’s, the difference is astounding. Iwan baan’s photographs always feel more like renderings: they capture the idea behind the building. This is the way architects want to see architecture.

  • Another Person

    There is a pretensious french phrase to describe this. Object d’art perhaps.

    I wonder if this gardner so much attention sans-sepentine institution? I think not.

    Architects ascend the gaunlet of success and recognition. Vindicated they stand tall on upper eschelon.
    A vantage point from which to contemplate their navel and toil with fleeting styles and trends.

    Meanwhile the serious problems of the world remain unsolved.

    • YOURMom’s lover

      we are not policy makers

  • josep

    I think is beautiful and brilliant SANAA always managed to deliver without making foolish flashy architecture!

  • tropicalismo360

    I haven’t got back to London yet to see it in person but this seems like a real breath of fresh air compared to the horrendous pavilions of recent years.

  • -zMx-

    Nice work SANAA!!!!
    Thanks for sharing photos of Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 to & Ivan Baan.

  • StructureHub Blog

    True, rain puddling may be a (minor) issue, but nonetheless, the canopy shimmers and wafts along wonderfully harmless to anything and offensive to no one.

  • Otis


    • YOURMom’s lover

      “gives middle finger” at you

  • KJG

    Very beautiful! Minimalistic space.
    I wonder how they have arranged stability, I don’t see any cross connections…

  • Ralph Kent

    I visited it last week. To my mind, its better than the last three Serpentine pavilions. Its quite small and intimate and for once doesn’t scream: “EVERYONE: Look at this – it was designed by me, a famous architect!!!”

    In response to the post about the impact on the surrounding vegetation, probably quite limited, given it will be demounted in autumn. And to the person who complained about it being scrapped – that’s not strictly correct. The Serpentine Gallery sells the work at the end to recoup costs, so it will likely end up in the grounds of some stately home or someone gauche like the Cass Sculpture Gallery (where it will slowly degrade out of public view).

    • YOURMom’s lover

      thank you!