Serpentine Pavilion 2023 by Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture

Serpentine Pavilion 9 June - 29 October 2023 Free Donate today
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The design of the Serpentine Pavilion 2023 emerges from architect Lina Ghotmeh’s aspiration to develop our primal relationship with the Earth into a sustainable one.

Inspired by Ghotmeh’s Mediterranean heritage and lively discussions around the table over current affairs, politics, personal lives, and dreams, the Pavilion is titled À table a French call to sit together at the table to share a meal and enter into dialogue. As such, the interior of the Pavilion features a circular table along the perimeter, inviting us to convene and celebrate exchanges that enable new relationships to form. Considering food as an expression of care and offering a moment of conviviality around a table, Ghotmeh welcomes us to share the ideas, concerns, joys, dissatisfactions, responsibilities, traditions, cultural memories, and histories that bring us together. 

Ghotmeh defines her approach to architecture as an ‘Archaeology of the Future’. Built predominantly from bio-sourced and low-carbon materials, the Serpentine Pavilion 2023 continues her focus on sustainability and designing spaces that are conceived in dialogue with the history and natural environment that surrounds them. The form of the Pavilion responds to the shape of the park’s tree canopies. Internal wooden beams that encircle the perimeter of the structure emerge as thin tree trunks and the fretwork panels that sit between the beams feature plant-like cut out patterns, aiding ventilation and allowing natural light to come in. The Pavilion’s pleated roof is inspired by the structure of a palm leaf, while the lightwell in the middle furthers the space’s integration with its setting. The modest, low roof takes inspiration from togunas: structures found in Mali, West Africa, that are traditionally used for community gatherings to discuss current issues, and also offer shade and relief from heat. The low-lying roofs of these structures encourage people to remain seated peacefully and take pause throughout discussions.

In this design, Ghotmeh also honours the history of the Serpentine South building, which was originally a teahouse. Designed by James Grey West, the building opened in 1934 and was converted into an art gallery in 1970. In the summer months until the early 1960s, the café’s seating area also expanded to the lawn, which the Pavilion now occupies. Inspired by this history, Ghotmeh incorporated the Pavilion’s café menu into her design process, offering Mediterranean-inspired dishes made with local and seasonal ingredients.

A new soundscape for the Pavilion has been created by artist and composer Tarek Atoui, based on Lina Ghotmeh’s sketches, architectural materials and Atoui’s ongoing research on classical and rural Arab music. You can listen to ‘Dawn chorus’ by Jad and Tarek Atoui, featuring Berber chants by the choir of Othman Azolid (Ouarzazat, Morocco), on Serpentine’s guide on Bloomberg Connects.

Architect Biography

Lina Ghotmeh (b.1980, Beirut, Lebanon) leads her practice Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture in Paris, France and carries her works in the world at the crossroad of Art, Architecture & Design. Echoing her lived experience of Beirut – a palimpsest of unrest – her designs are orchestrated as an ‘Archeology of the Future’ where every project emerges in complete symbiosis with nature following a thorough historical and materially sensitive research investigation. 

Ghotmeh’s projects include the Estonian National Museum (Grand Prix Afex 2016 & Mies Van Der Rohe Nominee); ‘Stone Garden’, crafted tower and gallery spaces in Beirut (Dezeen 2021 Architecture of the year Award), Lebanon; ‘Réalimenter Masséna’ wooden tower dedicated to sustainable food culture in Paris (laureate of Paris’ call for innovative projects), France; Ateliers Hermès in Normandy, first passive low carbon workshops building, in  France; Wonderlab exhibition in Tokyo and Beijing & Les Grands Verres for the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France. 

Ghotmeh is actively involved in the academic world and has lectured in institutions across the world. She is Louis I Khan 2021 visiting professor at Yale School of Architecture in United States and Gehry Chair 2021–22 at the University of Toronto, Canada. She co-presides the Scientific Network for architecture in extreme climates and is was a member of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2022 Jury. Among Prizes, she was awarded in 2021 the 2020 Schelling Architecture Prize, has received the 2020 Tamayouz ‘Woman of Outstanding Achievement’, the French Fine Arts Academy Cardin Award 2019, the Architecture Academy Dejean Prize 2016 and the French Ministry of Culture Award in 2008. 

Her work is currently exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum in New York and was previously shown at the MAXXI in Rome (2021–22) and the 17th Architecture Biennale in Venice (2021). Her projects have been published by Phaidon, RIBA, Domus and Architectural Record. 

Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture is a critically acclaimed, international firm of architects, designers, and researchers based in Paris. The firm was established by French Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh. Lina Ghotmeh is one of the industry’s leading international practitioners, having completed several award-winning projects, including the Estonian National Museum, winner of the AFEX Grand Prix 2016, and nominee of the Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2017. 

Her innovative and poetic work reveals a transversal and multi-disciplinary approach to architecture. 

About Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture  

Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture is committed to a fair and sustainable future. The practice takes an in-depth, historical, and materially sensitive approach to its projects. Each of the firm’s designs is developed through a process of thorough historical research. They emerge as exquisite interventions that enliven memories and the senses. This is an ‘Archeology of the Future’, where every new gesture is drawn from the traces of the past. 

Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture designs ecologically and sustainably: the studio’s projects derive their aesthetics from their close relationship with nature and express the essence of the materials from which they are fashioned. Widely published, the firm’s projects range in scale (from objects to museums) and geography (from France to Japan). They include ‘Réalimenter Masséna’, a sustainable wooden tower in Paris, winner of the city’s appeal for innovative projects; ‘Stone Garden’, winner of the 2021 Dezeen Architecture Award, a residential tower in Beirut that houses the Mina Image Centre for Middle Eastern Studies; ‘Hermès workshops’, a passive, low-carbon building in Normandy; and the beautiful renovation of “Les Grands Verres”, former restaurant (2017–2020) of the Palais de Tokyo Contemporary Arts Museum, best Interior Fooding Award in 2018. 

Curated by

Natalia Grabowska, Curator at Large, Architecture and Site-specific Projects

Alexa Chow, Assistant Exhibitions Curator


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