Architect Herzog + de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to design this year’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion

The Serpentine Gallery has announced that architect Herzog & de Meuron and dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei have been chosen to design this year’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion.

The team previously worked together on Beijing’s landmark ‘Bird’s Nest’ National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. This year’s pavilion will also be presented as part of the London 2012 Festival which will be the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad this summer.

The appointment marks a break from tradition for the coveted commission which constructs a temporary pavilion in London’s Hyde Park each year.

The ongoing programme was originally established to showcase work from foreign architects who had not previously built projects in the UK.

Herzog & de Meuron converted London’s former Bankside Power Station to the Tate Modern in 2000 and also designed the Laban Centre in south London in 2003. This year’s pavilion however will be its first collaborative built structure in the UK with Ai Weiwei.

As the twelfth pavilion built, the concept behind this year’s installation is to unearth and unify remnants of the previous eleven. A five-foot hole will be cut into the ground enabling visitors to descend beneath the lawns and encounter the physical foundations and formations of the pavilion’s predecessors.

Twelve columns will also support a floating platform 1.5m above the ground. The team describe their design as “an alternative solution” that seeks to “sidestep the unavoidable problem of creating an object, a concrete shape.”

This year’s pavilion will be open from June to October and will a host a programme of public talks, events and performances.

The first Serpentine Gallery pavilion was built by Zaha Hadid in 2000 and subsequent commissions have been completed by some of the world’s leading architects.

Previous Serpentine Gallery pavilion architects:

2000 - Zaha Hadid

2001 - Daniel Libeskind / Arup

2002 - Toyo Ito / Arup

2003 - Oscar Niemeyer

2004 - MVRDV (Cancelled)

2005 - Alvaro Siza / Eduardo Souto de Moura / Cecil Balmond / Arup

2006 - Rem Koolhaas / Cecil Balmond / Arup

2007 - Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen

2008 - Frank Gehry

2009 - SANAA

2010 - Jean Nouvel

2011 - Peter Zumthor