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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010 by Jean Nouvel

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010. Designed by Jean Nouvel. © Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Photograph: Philippe Ruault.

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THIS year – the Serpentine’s 40th Anniversary – the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is designed by world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel.

This 2010 Pavilion is the 10th commission in the Gallery’s annual series, the world’s first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind. It is the architect’s first completed building in the UK.

The Pavilion commission has become an international site for architectural experimentation and follows a long tradition of Pavilions by some of the world’s greatest architects. The immediacy of the commission – a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a unique model worldwide.

The design for the 2010 Pavilion is a contrast of lightweight materials and dramatic metal cantilevered structures. The entire design is rendered in a vivid red that, in a play of opposites, contrasts with the green of its park setting. In London, the colour reflects the iconic British images of traditional telephone boxes, post boxes and London buses.

The building consists of bold geometric forms, large retractable awnings and a sloped freestanding wall that stands 12m above the lawn. Striking glass, polycarbonate and fabric structures create a versatile system of interior and exterior spaces, while the flexible auditorium accommodates the Serpentine Gallery Park Nights and Marathon and the changing summer weather.

Nouvel’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion operates as a public space, a café and as a venue for Park Nights, the Gallery’s acclaimed programme of public talks and events, which attracts up to 250,000 visitors each summer. The pavilion design highlights the idea of play with its incorporation of traditional French outdoor table-tennis tables.

Jean Nouvel is responsible for the design of over 200 buildings the world over, including the Copenhagen Concert Hall (2009); The Ferrari Factory, Modena (2009); Pavilion B at the Genoa Trade Fair (2009); 40 Mercer Street, New York (2008); the Musee du quai Branly, Paris (2006); the extension of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2006); the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis (2001); the Torre Agbar, Barcelona (2000); the Culture and Congress Centre, Lucerne (2000); and the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (1989).

Admission: Free.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010 by Jean Nouvel: until October 17, 2010.

Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA

Tel: 020 7402 6075