Herzog & de Meuron design Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012

Pritzker Prize-winning firm Herzog & de Meuron will design this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens.

The Swiss firm is collaborating with Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei to create the twelfth installment of the prestigious programme, which has involved many of the world’s top architects.

A statement from Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei read: “…so many different materials have been conceived and built that we tried instinctively to sidestep the unavoidable problem of creating an object, a concrete shape.”

The designers’ plan involves excavating down to groundwater level, revealing traces of the past eleven annual pavilions and creating a well at the bottom that will also collect rainwater.

Julia Peyton-Jones, director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “All of these foundations will now be uncovered and reconstructed. The old foundations form a jumble of convoluted lines, like a sewing pattern.

“A distinctive landscape emerges out of the reconstructed foundations which is unlike anything we could have invented; its form and shape is actually a serendipitous gift.”

Eleven columns characterising each past pavilion and a twelfth column will support a floating platform roof 1.5m above ground.

Previous architects of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion include Frank Gehry (2008),  Zaha Hadid (2000) and Jean Nouvel (2010).