Architect Minsuk Cho designed the 2024 Serpentine Pavilion as a circular void surrounded by smaller, adaptable island structures strategically positioned at the periphery of the Serpentine South lawn, in London’s  Kensington Gardens. Called the Archipelagic Void, the design renders a star-shaped pavilion with five “islands” that come in varying height, size, and form. 

These timber-made islands stand on supporting raised concrete plinths that adapt to the site’s slightly sloping terrain and extend outwards to serve as built-in seating. Each has a curving-edged roof joined by a steel ring, which forms the pavilion’s central circular void. 

From the void, each five structures of the 2024 Serpentine Pavilion have individual names and serve a different purpose. There’s the Gallery, home to a six-channel sound installation, called The Willow and Moonlight. Created by musician and composer Jang Young-Gyu, it depicts the transition of seasons featuring sounds from nature and human activities recorded in the Kensington Gardens with traditional Korean vocal music and instruments.

The largest island is the Auditorium, which has built-in benches on the walls and serves as a space for public gathering, performances, talks, and more. Then to the north is The Library of Unread Books by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal, which showcases donated unread books. 

To the southeast of the 2024 Serpentine Pavilion is the Play Tower, a pyramid structure fitted with a bright orange netting for visitors to climb and interact. Then in a nod to the history of the Serpentine, Cho included a cafe called the Tea House to the east. The Serpentine South building was a teahouse before its reopening as an art gallery in 1970.

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Images courtesy of Serpentine Galleries