Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007

London, 2007
Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen
This project was completed prior to the founding of Studio Other Spaces.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007 was constructed around a spiralling movement. It was defined by a rampthat wrapped around and gave shape to a central gathering space, which constituted the primary space of the pavilion. The experience of the building is precisely related to one’s movement through it.

This was one of the first projects in which Olafur Eliasson, with his studio, expanded artistic work into an architectural project. Drawing from the experience of being the direct producer of artworks and exhibitions within the studio space, we brought that knowledge and method directly into the production of architecture. The work was entirely prefabricated, allowing for a strong link between all parts of the construction. This working method and collaboration between artist and architect was a precedent for the current architectural undertakings of Studio Other Spaces.

Open to the outside, with the exception of the louvre partitions, the pavilion formed an auditorium at its core. Coiling out nautilus-like from the very centre, a panelled floor gradually transformed into stepped seating, before growing ever steeper and narrower until it melded with the pavilion walls. This smooth transition from ramp to seating to floor to walls was chosen in order to eschewthe sharp distinctions between traditional elements of a building, proposing instead a model of space defined by movement.

In autumn 2007, Eliasson curated a number of public events inside the pavilion together with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery. This engagement culminated in the Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon, held in October 2007.

Designed by Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, founder of the Norwegian architectural practice Snøhetta, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007 was commissioned by the Serpentine as part of its pavilion series and was situated adjacent to the gallery, in Kensington Gardens, London, from August to October 2007.

Client: Serpentine Gallery, London
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date: 2007, temporary installation