The 11th Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Peter Zumthor, opens

Serpentine Pavilion: a natural observatory

This week

The 15th Serpentine Pavilion opened this week in London’s Kensington Gardens. Designed by husband and wife duo José Selgas and Lucía Cano, the pair have earned themselves a reputation for their use of bold and vibrant colours and this structure is no exception - formed with tinted ETFE panels that glow when the sun shines through. The 15th Serpentine Pavilion’s rainbow framework and glowing interior, however, could not contrast more with its 2011 counterpart.

Designed by Peter Zumthor, the 2011 Serpentine Pavilion aimed to inspire visitors to become observers of nature, but in the opinion of Building architecture critic Ike Ijeh, failed to achieve its goal. Writing on 1 July 2011, Ijeh said: “Zumthor sets out to create a contemplative space, which offers a sensory, spiritual experience that creates intimacy with nature. Severed from the noise and views of London and shrouded in its sepuchral black skin, the Serpentine Pavilion certainly evokes an atmospheric sense of enclosure and immerses the visitor in the vibrant smells and colours of nature. But seeing as the core aim of the pavilion is to observe nature, it seems odd that it adopts such extreme measures to disengage itself from its parkland surroundings.”

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