Heritage Forum

Hadid’s curves now permanently embrace the Serpentine

Oct 9, 2013 | Forum, News

1373_LH_007-email365Hadid was the first person to design a temporary structure for the Serpentine 2000. In 2007 she was approached again for the design of “giant mushrooms”, as it was described by some at the time. In the meantime, these mushrooms have grown onto the permanent Serpentine Sackler Gallery that was opened to the public on Saturday, 28 September.

It comprises an old gunpowder store from 1805 combined with a Hadid design of approximately £14,5 million and offers a total of 900m2 in new space.

According  to the Serpentine website, Hadid’s design presents “a light and transparent extension that complements rather than competes with the neo-classical architecture of the original building”.

Not everyone, however, is that certain that it does this. According to the Guardian, it is a “marquee battling a stiff breeze”. Furthermore, it is described as clumsy over against the “beautifully restored Georgian building”.

The Telegraph describes it as “aggressive and banal” and  “lacking any articulation or scale”. “If you were told you had accidentally wandered into the salesroom of a super-yacht vendor, you might not be entirely surprised.”

The online design magazine Dezeen refrains from comment and simply describes it as a flexible structure in glass-fibre textile that “forms a free-flowing white canopy” which apparently grows organically from the brickwork of the older building .

If she is at all concerned about criticism, Hadid may be grateful for the Independent referring to her design a  “modern classic” and suggesting that it has updated the old building without competing with it.

It is the first permanent structure by Hadid, an Iranian-born British architect, to be erected in London.

*The Serpentine Gallery annually commissions an international architect to design a pavilion that, according to the gallery’s website, is “the most ambitious architecture programme of its type in the world”.

This year it was the turn of the Japanese Sou Fujimoto. This temporary structure serves as a display case for contemporary architecture and is used for film shows, talks, the BBC proms and as a cafe. In an interview, Fujimoto said that he wanted to design a structure that was somewhere between architecture and nature “…something like the primitive beginnings of a building”.

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