Sumayya Vally, the architect behind this year’s Serpentine Pavilion designed by Counterspace, is joined by Serpentine’s Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Serpentine has teamed up with DEZEEN to livestream a conversation with the Sumayya Vally, Director of Counterspace and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director at Serpentine. The 20th Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, directed by Vally, will open on 11 June 2021. A TIME100 Next List honoree, Vally is the youngest architect to be commissioned for this internationally renowned architecture programme.
The Pavilion’s design is based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across several London neighbourhoods significant to diasporic and cross-cultural communities, including Brixton, Hoxton, Tower Hamlets, Edgware Road, Barking and Dagenham and Peckham, among others. Responding to the historical erasure and scarcity of informal community spaces across the city, the Pavilion references and pays homage to existing and erased places that have held communities over time and continue to do so today. Among them are: some of the first mosques built in the city, such as Fazl Mosque and East London Mosque, cooperative bookshops including Centerprise, Hackney; entertainment and cultural sites including The Four Aces Club on Dalston Lane, The Mangrove restaurant and the Notting Hill Carnival.
The forms in the Pavilion are a result of abstracting, superimposing and splicing elements from architectures that vary in scales of intimacy, translating the shapes of London into the Pavilion structure in Kensington Gardens. Where these forms meet, they create a new place for gathering in the Pavilion.