UPDATE: on april 24, 2020, it was announced that the 2020 serpentine pavilion — designed by counterspace — has been extended into a two-year commission as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. the architects will collaborate with the serpentine on a series of off-site and online research projects throughout 2020, which will culminate with the opening of the pavilion in summer 2021.


johannesburg-based practice counterspace, directed by sumayya vally, sarah de villiers, and amina kaskar, was selected to design the pavilion in february 2020 — marking the annual commission’s 20th anniversary. located in london’s hyde park, the studio’s design is based on gathering spaces and community places found across the UK capital. using both contemporary and traditional building techniques, the shapes of the pavilion are created from a process of addition, superimposition, subtraction, and splicing of architectural forms. according to the architects, these are directly transcribed from existing locations with particular relevance to migrant and other peripheral communities in london.

counterspace serpentine pavilion
serpentine pavilion 2020 designed by counterspace
design render, interior view © counterspace



the pavilion will include moveable small parts that will be displaced to neighborhoods across london. following community events at these locations, the parts will be returned to the structure, completing it over the course of the summer. employing a mix of low-tech and high-tech approaches to sustainability, the pavilion will be constructed from a variety of materials — including custom K-briq-modules and cork. K-briqs are made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste and are manufactured without firing, with a tenth of the carbon emissions of normal bricks.

counterspace serpentine pavilion
amina kaskar, sumayya vally, and sarah de villiers of counterspace
photographed by justice mukheli in johannesburg, 2020. © counterspace



‘the pavilion is itself conceived as an event — the coming together of a variety of forms from across london over the course of the pavilion’s sojourn,’ explains lead architect on the project, sumayya vally of counterspace. ‘these forms are imprints of some of the places, spaces and artifacts which have made care and sustenance part of london’s identity. the breaks, gradients and distinctions in color and texture between different parts of the pavilion make this reconstruction and piecing together legible at a glance. as an object, experienced through movement, it has continuity and consistency, but difference and variation are embedded into the essential gesture at every turn.’



project info:


name: serpentine pavilion 2020
location: kensington gardens, hyde park, london, UK
design: counterspace
technical advisor: david glover
engineering and all technical services: AECOM
creative services: stage one