The 23rd Serpentine Pavilion, set to open in London's Kensington Gardens in June 2024, is designed by the Seoul-based Korean firm Mass Studies. The pavilion, titled "Archipelagic Void," will consist of five "islands" arranged around a central void, breaking down the structure into smaller elements intertwined with the park's natural ecology. The design aims to create a multifaceted pavilion that offers different purposes and experiences for visitors.
The design draws inspiration from the traditional Korean concept of a madang, a small courtyard found in old Korean houses that gathers narratives of everyday activities. The central void in the pavilion acts as a modern interpretation of the madang, anchoring the surrounding structures and creating a focal point for the space. Each island in the pavilion serves a specific function, such as an entry point, an auditorium, a library, a tea house, and a play tower.
The pavilion also aims to engage visitors through live programs and interdisciplinary activities, including music, poetry, spoken words, and dance. It will serve as a platform for cultural encounters and foster interactions between people, technology, and ecology.
Mass Studies, established in 2003, focuses on investigating context, mass production, emerging urban conditions, and cultural niches to define the spatial conditions of the present. The firm has gained recognition for its innovative projects, including the Southcape Owner's Club: Clubhouse, the Songwon Art Center, and the Osulloc Tea House Pavilions in South Korea. The selection of Mass Studies as the Serpentine Pavilion designer continues the tradition of highlighting upcoming names in the architecture practice.
The Serpentine Pavilion has a rich history of showcasing the works of renowned architects and artists. Previous editions have featured installations by Theaster Gates, Francis Kéré, Junya Ishigami, and BIG. Each pavilion brings a unique perspective and design approach, transforming the space and captivating visitors.
The design for the Archipelagic Void pavilion breaks away from the traditional self-contained objects placed in the center of the lawn. Instead, it embraces the challenge of considering the existing peripheral elements while exploring the center as a void. This approach shifts the architectural focus away from the built center of the past and opens up new possibilities and narratives.
The Serpentine Pavilion's selection process highlights the importance of diversity and innovation in the field of architecture. By showcasing the works of emerging architects, the pavilion continues to push boundaries and challenge conventional design norms. It serves as a platform for experimentation and creativity, attracting visitors from around the world who are eager to experience cutting-edge architectural installations.
The design for the 23rd Serpentine Pavilion by Mass Studies promises to be a captivating and immersive experience for visitors. The Archipelagic Void pavilion's unique arrangement of islands and central void creates a dynamic and multifunctional space that encourages interaction and exploration. As the pavilion opens its doors in June 2024, it will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all who visit, further cementing the Serpentine Pavilion's reputation as a platform for architectural innovation and creativity.