Zaha Hadid's Serpentine gallery to open next month

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery will be the Pritzker Laureate's first permanent structure in central London
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The Serpentine Sackler gallery by Zaha Hadid
The Serpentine Sackler gallery by Zaha Hadid

More than any other London art gallery, The Serpentine has gained a reputation for architectural innovation as well as artistic flair. The gallery's annual pavilion project commissions world-famous architects to design and build a temporary structure each summer in its grounds.

Now, one of gallery's longest-standing pavilion maker, Zaha Hadid, will top out a permanent creation, when The Serpentine Sackler Gallery opens on Saturday, 28 September 2013.

This gallery adapts a 200-year-old neoclassical gunpowder store about 200 metres north of the existing gallery on the far side of the Serpentine Bridge. Hadid's practice have reworked the site, adding a white, flexuose roof structure to the building's western edge. This extension will enable the building to house a gallery, restaurant and social space within its enlarged, 900-square-metre floor area.

Though this new gallery is, unbelievably, Hadid's first permanent building in central London, the architect did design The Serpentine's first summer pavilion – a tent-like structure back in 2000 – and remains the only person to have contributed to this programme twice; in the summer of 2007 she returned the more ambitious outdoor installation, Lilas, in collaboration with fellow architect  Patrick Schumacher (see video, below).

 

Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas will be the subject of the new gallery's opening exhibition, with a complementary show by the Italian sculptor Marisa Merz to be staged concurrently in the Serpentine's existing space. As Hans Ulrich Obrist, the gallery's co-director, told The London Evening Standard, “the two artists have many resonances. It’s not just a question of two shows. There’s a bridge that connects the two spaces.”

Indeed, the gallery will exploit the brief journey between its two sites with a new annual Bridge Commission, which this year takes the form of a series of short stories written by a dozen internationally acclaimed writers, each of which can be read or listened to within the time it takes to walk from one gallery to the other. If, however, you'd prefer to watch where you're going, The Serpentine have also commissioned a new map to guide visitors, from the artist and erstwhile tutor of Damien Hirst, Michael Craig-Martin.


To read more go here. For more on the contemporary building trends, please take a look at our Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture; to understand Marisa Merz's work in greater depth please consider our Arte Povera book. We've also books by Hans Ulrich Obrist including our Ai Weiwei and Pipilotti Rist monographs. If you like the look of the older parts of this new gallery, you might also enjoy our overview of Neoclassicism. Lastly, before you buy anything, do join our club, to take advantage of rewards points, exclusive offers and great events.


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