Four satellite summer houses by international architects add to bumper year

Bjarke Ingels’ Serpentine Pavilion opens this week along with four pop-up summer houses surrounding it in Kensington Gardens.

It is the first time more than one pavilion - and more than one architect - have been part of the annual series which began in 2000 with a Zaha Hadid-designed structure.

This year’s main pavilion - a towering 300sq m twisted pyramid of empty boxes - was designed by Ingels’ practice BIG.

It fills the lawn in front of the main Serpentine Gallery and was conceived as an “unzipped wall” switching from straight line to 3D space housing a cafe and able to host the Park Nights performance programme.

The four 25sq m summer houses are scattered around it, all about a minute’s walk. They were designed by the UK’s Asif Khan, Hungarian-born Yona Friedman, US/German practice Barkow Leibinger and former OMA architect Kunlé Adeyemi, principal of Amsterdam-based NLÉ.

The brief was to reference William Kent’s 1734 Queen Caroline’s Temple, a classical summer house just north of the main Serpentine Gallery.

Asif Khan’s design is inspired by the fact that the temple was positioned to catch the sunlight from the Serpentine lake.

Kunlé Adeyemi’s summer house is an inverse replica of the temple - a “tribute to its robust form, space and material, recomposed into a new sculptural object”.

Barkow Leibinger was inspired by another, now extinct, 18th-century pavilion also designed by William Kent, which rotated and offered 360-degree views of the park.

And Yona Friedman’s summer house is a modular structure that can be assembled and disassembled in different formations.