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Jean Nouvel Lands This Year’s Serpentine Pavilion

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In former Pritzker winners news, this writer was just headed out to New Orleans and didn’t get the chance to post that starchitect Jean Nouvel has landed the commission to build this year’s Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Hyde Park. It’s the 10th anniversary of the building of the temporary structure, thus far always by the most high-profile of architects (SANAA created last year’s). True to form, given the completely open brief for the Serepentine, Nouvel’s plans for the building look like he just wanted to get experimental and try some things out (we particularly like the solid, bright red color he’s chosen for it). Also per usual, the selection of a starchitect has led to an outpouring of criticism about said starchitect, detailed in full in this Guardian editorial. Personally speaking, it’s one of our favorite Pavilion designs of recent years. Things seemed to get a little too weird around 2006 with Rem Koolhaas‘ bubble, through Zaha Hadid‘s second pavilion, and stayed that way through Frank Gehry‘s earthquake Acropolis. Nice to see something interesting-but-accessible again. Here’s a brief description of Nouvel’s:

The building consists of bold geometric forms, large retractable awnings and a freestanding wall that climbs 12m above the lawn, sloping at a gravity defying angle. It experiments with the idea of play in its incorporation of the French tradition of outdoor table-tennis. Striking glass, polycarbonate and fabric structures create a versatile system of interior and exterior spaces. The flexible auditoria will accommodate the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights and Marathon and the changing summer weather.

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