This striking image shows what the pavilion next to the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park will look like this summer. In what incidentally is the gallery’s 40th anniversary year, world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel is designing the 10th Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Furthermore, it will be Jean Nouvel’s first completed building in the UK.
The Pavilion commission has become 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 cantilevered structures in metal. The entire design is rendered in a vivid red that boldly contrasts with the green of its park setting. This also 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 freestanding wall that climbs 12m above the lawn, sloping at a gravity-defying angle. It experiments with the idea of play in its incorporation of the French tradition of outdoor table tennis. Striking glass, polycarbonate and fabric structures create a versatile system of interior and exterior spaces. The flexible auditoria will accommodate both the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights and Marathon without being a hostage to the ever-changing summer weather.
Jean Nouvel is responsible for the design of over 200 buildings the world over, including buildings as diverse as the Copenhagen Concert Hall (2009); 40 Mercer Street, New York (2008) and the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (1989).
Nouvel’s body of work is unparalleled in its innovation and range. His approach is characterised by a conceptual rigour, rather than by an overarching aesthetic. He emphasises 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 Pavilion will also be the location for the Serpentine’s presentation of the renowned French artist Christian Boltanski’s acclaimed installation, Heartbeat. In this work, visitors are invited to contribute a recording of their heartbeat to an archive in a specially designed booth.
The Pavilion will open in July on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn, where it will remain until October.


Christian Boltanski, Jean Nouvel, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion,