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It will be on the 11th of June 2021, that the 20th Serpentine Pavillion, designed by Johammesburg- based practice counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally is set to open. Having been postponed by over a year, due to the global pandemic, the pavilion will temporarily be on display till the 17th of October 2021, on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn in Kensignton Gardens.

While Counterspace is the 20th practice to accept the invitation to design the Serpentine pavilion, Vally, a TIME100 Next List honoree, is the youngest architect to be commissioned for this internationally renowned architecture program. The programe has been support by Goldman Sachs, with this year’s invention being “based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across London”. As a result of abstracting, superimposing, and splicing architectural elements, the forms in the pavilion vary in the scale of intimacy. A specially commissioned sound program for the Pavilion, Listening to the City, will feature work by artists including Ain Bailey and Jay Barnard, connecting visitors to the stories and sounds of lost spaces across London.

My practice, and this Pavilion, is centred around amplifying and collaborating with multiple and diverse voices from many different histories; with an interest in themes of identity, community, belonging and gathering. The past year has drawn these themes sharply into focus and has allowed me the space to reflect on the incredible generosity of the communities that have been integral to this Pavilion. This has given rise to several initiatives that extend the duration, scale and reach of the Pavilion beyond its physical lifespan. In a time of isolation, these initiatives have deepened the Pavilion’s intents toward sustained collaboration, and I am excited to continue this engagement with the Serpentine’s civic and education teams and our partners over the summer and beyond.–  Sumayya Vally of Counterspace.

Set to open on 11 June 2021, the project translates the shapes of London into the structure, referencing the architecture of places of worship, markets, restaurants, bookshops, and local cultural institutions that are particularly relevant to migrant communities in neighbourhoods such as Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Edgware Road, Barking and Dagenham, Peckham and Notting Hill, among others. In fact, during summer, fragments of the intervention will be installed in neighbourhoods across the city, to support and facilitate gatherings and impromptu interactions, to honor the history of places that have held communities over time. “A specially commissioned programme for the Pavilion, Listening to the City, will feature work by artists including Ain Bailey and Jay Bernard, connecting visitors to the stories and sounds of lost spaces across London”.

Krishnaprio Dey