The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Peter Zumthor, 2011

Since 2000 London’s Serpentine Gallery has commissioned international artists to design and build a temporary pavilion within the grounds of Kensington Gardens in Hyde Park.

This year it was Peter Zumthor’s turn.

This was my first pavilion visit and first taste of Zumthor’s architecture. I happened to choose a rather overcast day to visit, which perhaps turned into a blessing in disguise. I say that as not long after I had found a seat inside to relax and take a close look at the planting it began to rain- very heavily.

The result was fabulous. With no guttering the rain slid off the pitched roof to be soaked up by the inner courtyard garden. The planting seemed to come alive and became the star attraction. The architecture is beautiful in a very discrete way and I can’t help but wonder whether Zumthor always intended for the garden to lead the architecture in terms of experience. Being a landscape designer this mix of complimentary design is something I aspire to.

For me it was all about the garden. And it came as no surprise to learn the planting had been designed by Piet Oudolf – seen as the modern day master of soft landscaping.

How to visit

Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA

The pavilion was a temporary exhibit that has now been removed. This is an annual event hosted by the Serpentine Gallery which normally runs for 3 months from June/July.

Below is my map of London’s architectural gems with the location of the gallery highlighted.

View London in a larger map

Visit the Serpentine Gallery’s website to check on future events. 2012 is all about Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei.