fri 18/09/2020

New pavilion gets you hot under the collar | reviews, news & interviews

New pavilion gets you hot under the collar

New pavilion gets you hot under the collar

Solid geometry? Nouvel's unstable-looking steel, glass and plastic-cladded structure

The unveiling of the Serpentine Pavilion (now in its 10th year) has become as much of a summer fixture as Henley. And yet it is not without controversy. Why, for instance, does the Serpentine Gallery in London insist on commissioning global stars such as Frank Gehry and now Jean Nouvel when it could be giving up-and-coming architects much needed exposure? Its original remit was to show architects who had not yet built on British soil, but though this has held true for eight of the 10 commissions, it certainly wasn't true of Gehry (who had built a cancer unit in Dundee), nor now of Nouvel: his One New Change, a shopping and office complex right next to St Paul's Cathedral, will be unveiled in the autumn. Other commissions have been by equally illustrious figures.

The unveiling of the Serpentine Pavilion (now in its 10th year) has become as much of a summer fixture as Henley. And yet it is not without controversy. Why, for instance, does the Serpentine Gallery in London insist on commissioning global stars such as Frank Gehry and now Jean Nouvel when it could be giving up-and-coming architects much needed exposure? Its original remit was to show architects who had not yet built on British soil, but though this has held true for eight of the 10 commissions, it certainly wasn't true of Gehry (who had built a cancer unit in Dundee), nor now of Nouvel: his One New Change, a shopping and office complex right next to St Paul's Cathedral, will be unveiled in the autumn. Other commissions have been by equally illustrious figures.

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