Skip to content
[account_popup]
subscribe
[account_button]
SEARCH

Categories

LASTEST

Serpentine

A Summer at Serpentine: Minsuk Cho’s Archipelagic Void as a Gathering Space

London’s Serpentine Gallery unveils its 23rd Pavilion, "Archipelagic Void", designed by Seoul-based Korean architect Minsuk Cho.

The anticipation in the air is palpable as London’s Serpentine Gallery unveils its 23rd Pavilion, “Archipelagic Void,” a masterstroke of architectural brilliance designed by Seoul-based Korean architect Minsuk Cho and his firm, Mass Studies. This monumental project, supported by Goldman Sachs for the tenth consecutive year, promises to be a seminal piece in the ever-evolving narrative of the Serpentine’s architectural innovations.

“This has become one of the most anticipated architectural commissions in the world. This is a perfect example of how the Serpentine’s mission of making new connections between artists and audiences comes to life,” said Bettina Korek, Chief Executive of the Serpentine. “The pavilion demonstrates the infinite power of architecture to inspire and bring us together. It is in this sense that Minsuk Cho’s commission revives the history of Serpentine South as a tea house in the park, a meeting place in nature surrounded by the teeming city of London.”

Minsuk Cho Imagines an Archipelagic Void for the Serpentine Pavilion

The “Archipelagic Void” is a stunning ensemble of five distinct islands, each unique in size, form, and purpose, yet harmoniously integrated into a single cohesive experience. At the heart of the pavilion lies a circular void, reminiscent of a traditional Korean madang, fostering both intimate and communal interactions. Cho’s design is a thoughtful blend of contextual sensitivity and innovative abstraction, seamlessly integrating with the Serpentine’s gently sloping lawn and the broader park landscape.

“This has become one of the most anticipated architectural commissions in the world,”

— Bettina Korek
Minsuk Cho Minsuk Cho, Bettina Korek, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Michael R. Bloomberg, Sadiq Khan (c) Courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Our mentor Zaha Hadid always said, ‘There should be no end to experimentation’ – that continues to be our mantra until today. Over the past 6-7 years, we found it important for us to focus on a younger generation of architects,” said Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director. “And we are so delighted to welcome Minsuk here to London. This is also our continuation of our commitment to continue collaborating with the artists and the architects from South Korea, going back to the exhibition of Do Ho Suh here at the Serpentine, then of course, the sculpture in the park of Lee Ufan in 2018; the collaboration with BTS and Jakob Kudsk Steensen in 2020, and Okui Lee in 2014, and this year Minsuk Cho.”

“we are so delighted to welcome Minsuk here to London,”

— Hans Ulrich Obrist

This Summer’s Serpentine Pavilion Includes a Library, Tea Pavilon, Gallery, and More

Each of the pavilion’s components serves a distinct function, enhancing the visitor experience. The Gallery, serving as the main entrance, hosts a six-channel sound installation by musician and composer Jang Young-Gyu, whose work draws inspiration from the natural and human activities recorded in Kensington Gardens, intertwined with traditional Korean music. The Auditorium, the largest structure, provides a generous space for gatherings, performances, and talks, featuring benches built into its inner walls.

“The Library of Unread Books,” located to the north, offers a reflective space where visitors can contribute their unread books, creating a collective pool of knowledge. This initiative by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal is a poignant commentary on the access and distribution of knowledge. The Tea House pays homage to the historical role of Serpentine South as a tea pavilion, evoking a sense of nostalgia and continuity. The Play Tower, with its engaging netscape, invites visitors to climb and interact, adding a playful element to the pavilion.

Serpentine Pavilion 2024 designed by Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies. Photo by Ana Novi. © Whitewall. © Ana Novi. Serpentine Pavilion 2024 designed by Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies. Photo by Ana Novi. © Whitewall. © Ana Novi.
Minsuk Cho Serpentine Pavilion 2024, Archipelagic Void, designed by Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies © Mass Studies Photo: Iwan Baan Courtesy: Serpentine.

The materials used in “Archipelagic Void,” locally sourced limestone, Douglas fir timber, and tensile membranes, reflect a commitment to sustainability and modern joinery techniques, allowing for easy assembly and disassembly. This thoughtful use of materials and design not only honors traditional Korean architectural principles but also introduces a modernist touch that is both vernacular and contemporary.

Since its inception in 2000 with Hadid’s groundbreaking design, the Serpentine Pavilion has become a prestigious platform showcasing the first UK structures by some of the world’s most innovative architects. This year’s pavilion continues this tradition, celebrating the confluence of cultural heritage and cutting-edge design.

Visit Serpentine in London for Park Nights Programming

As part of the opening celebrations, Cho engaged in a conversation with Obrist on 7 June, discussing the inspirations behind this year’s pavilion, his architectural philosophy, and the rich history of the commission. The pavilion will also host Serpentine’s Park Nights, featuring a series of live events including a dance performance by Eun-Me Ahn and her company, and an evening of poetry with internationally acclaimed poets Don Mee Choi and Denise Riley.

This month, Serpentine Arts Technologies will present a day exploring the intersections of technology, property, and ecology, featuring Tomás Saraceno’s “Fairclouds” project in collaboration with RadicalxChange and Aerocene Foundation. This unique initiative invites visitors to become stewards of a collective artwork, supporting indigenous communities in Argentina.

“Archipelagic Void” transcends the notion of a mere architectural structure; it emerges as a vibrant realm of engagement, reflection, and collaboration, epitomizing the Serpentine’s enduring mission to forge meaningful connections between art and its audience. As the Serpentine nears its 25th anniversary, this pavilion not only celebrates its rich legacy of innovation and creativity but also reaffirms its pivotal role as a crucible for groundbreaking artistic and architectural endeavors in the heart of London’s Kensington Gardens.

Serpentine Eun-Me Ahn performing at The Summer Party 2024 (c) Thomas Alexander for Serpentine.
Minsuk Cho Serpentine Pavilion 2024, Archipelagic Void, designed by Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies © Mass Studies Photo: Iwan Baan Courtesy: Serpentine.

SAME AS TODAY

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

READ THIS NEXT

Inviting the audience to feel, touch, and experience art in its most dynamic state is “When Forms Come Alive” at Hayward Gallery.
We are thrilled to announce the Whitewall Spring 2024 Artist Issue, and our first cover with artist Minjung Kim.

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER

Go inside the worlds
of Art, Fashion, Design,
and Lifestyle.