THE SERPENTINE PAVILION IN 2021:
JOHANNESBURG'S URBAN FRAGMENTS UNDER A ROOF
The Serpentine Pavilion in London is an important annual event in the world architecture community. The designers selected each year are commissioned to build a temporary pavilion for summer in London’s Kensington Gardens, as part of the Serpentine Galleries.
This year marks Serpentine Galleries’ fiftieth birthday. Having carried out annual pavilion design for 20 years, Serpentine Galleries will welcome its youngest designers, Amina Kaskar, Sumayya Vally and Sarah de Villiers, chief designers of Counterspace Studio, all of whom who are in their late 20s.
The design concept originated from London as a gathering place for people from different parts of the world, the majority of whom could be immigrants or from surrounding communities. Exploration of chief designer Vally’s past projects tells a strong and convincing clue shared by all of his projects – cultural coexistence and integration, isolation and integration, and how cultural and political backgrounds affect the ways we live and build our urban environment. These themes are closely linked to Vally’s life in Johannesburg, and to the lifestyle in South Africa. “My experience of growing up in South Africa indeed inspired my practice,” she said. “This is how I look at segregation, from the sizes of families, communities, and the city.” Those themes are also universal and can be applied to any place where migration has taken place. To some extent, it can be most of the places around the world. Vally views the pavilion itself as an event because, during the time when the project is open to the public, various forms of collection from all over the place would gather. It is the “forms” carrying certain marks of origins, spaces and human- made products that make up the caring and supportive part of London.
This year’s pavilion will be made from a mix of materials, including the natural cork from the world’s biggest cork supplier Corticeira Amorim, and K-Briqs, a type of building material made from 90% recycled construction waste but without firing. Thus, the carbon footprint of K-Briqs is only one-tenth of the traditional ones.