peter zumthor's design of the 2011 serpentine gallery pavilion revealed
the design of the 11th serpentine gallery pavilion by swiss architect peter zumthor has been unveiled. the commissioned annual series, which have included in the past works by zaha hadid, SANAA, jean nouvel and frank gehry, was conceived in 2000 by gallery director julia peyton-jones and has become an international site for architectural experimentation. the project will be the first completed building in the UK by zumthor and will stand on the gallery’s lawn for three months, hosting a high-profile program of public talks and events.


centered around a garden, the design is intended to serve as a contemplative room – a garden within a garden. acting as a stage-like container, the pavilion uses the elements of blackness and shadow to abstract the internal space from the noise and distraction of the city. zumthor comments that the design ‘aims to help its audience take the time to relax, to observe and then, perhaps, start to talk again – maybe not.’ he adds, ‘this experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves – full of memory and time’.

peter zumthor's design of the 2011 serpentine gallery pavilion revealed
seating around the inner garden
rendered images © peter zumthor



focusing on the emotional experience of the built environment, important attention is paid to the dimension and materiality of the pavilion, a method that zumthor is well-versed in with his body of work. constructed out of a lightweight timber frame wrapped with scrim and coated with a black paste-and-sand mixture, the walls will offer multiple paths for visitors to follow, ultimately leading them to a central and hidden inner garden. created exclusively for the project, the garden will be designed by the influential dutch designer piet oudolf.


‘it is an honor and a great joy to be working with peter zumthor on the 11th serpentine gallery pavilion. the commission allows us to connect with the best architects in the world and each year is an exciting and completely new experience. zumthor’s plans will realize an exquisite space for the public to enjoy throughout the summer,’ says julia peyton-jones, director, and hans ulrich obrist, co-director of the serpentine gallery.

peter zumthor's design of the 2011 serpentine gallery pavilion revealed
peter zumthor
portrait © miro kuzmanovic