Serpentine Pavilion 2023 by Lina Ghotmeh
Sponsored by Goldman Sachs
Serpentine Pavilion 2023: À table, designed by architect Lina Ghotmeh, derives from the aspiration to create a sustainable kinship with the land through food and our primal relationship to the Earth.
Inspired by the Lebanese-born, Paris-based architect’s Mediterranean heritage and fervent discussions around the table over current affairs, politics, personal lives, and dreams, the Pavilion is titled À table – a French call to sit down together at a table to enter into dialogue and to share a meal. As such, the interior of the Pavilion features a circular table along the perimeter, inviting us to convene, sit down, think, share and celebrate exchanges that enable new relationships to form.
Considering food as an expression of care, the Pavilion’s design is a space for grounding and reflection on our relationship to land, nature and environment. By 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.
Structure and Build
Built predominantly from bio-sourced and low-carbon materials, the Serpentine Pavilion 2023 continues Ghotmeh’s focus on sustainability and designing spaces that are conceived in dialogue with the natural environment that surrounds them. The design of the space responds to the shape of the surrounding tree canopies, the internal wooden beams that encircle the perimeter of the Pavilion emerge as thin birch tree trunks. The Pavilion’s pleated roof is inspired by a palm leaf. The lightwell in the middle allows natural light and ventilation, furthering the space’s integration with its environment. The structure’s modest low roof takes inspiration from togunas: structures found in Mali, West Africa, which are traditionally used for community gatherings to discuss current issues, but also to offer shade and relief from heat. The low-lying roofs of these structures encourage people to remain seated peacefully and pause throughout discussions.
Historic Influences of Serpentine South
Designed by James Grey West, the Serpentine South building opened in 1934 and originally functioned as a teahouse until the early 1960s, before becoming an art gallery. In the summer months, the café’s seating area also extended to the lawn, which the Pavilion will occupy. In honouring the history of the building where Serpentine South is located, the Pavilion’s design further reflects Ghotmeh’s approach to architecture – described by the architect as an ‘Archaeology of the Future’ in which historical narratives are woven into her innovative designs.
- 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