It may be the world’s most popular pop-up installation in the world, especially if that world happens to be limited to architecture and design fans. Every year, a renowned designer or designers is selected—not necessarily from within the architecture industry—to design an outdoor pavilion on the grounds of the Serpentine Galleries in the English capital, which remains up for three months during the summer. The only restriction is that the architect must have not completed a building in England before his or her pavilion is displayed.
This year’s installment, designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Burkina Faso, will open to the public on Tuesday. His creation will joins a long list of experimental and eccentric designs that have graced the Kensington Garden lawns. Here’s a look at all the past designs, starting with Zaha Hadid’s inaugural installation, that have helped make this design series an international event.
2016: Bjarke Ingels
Last year, the Dutch architect devised a “"unzipped wall” that transformed a series of box-like, hollow bricks into a curved, three-dimensional space.
The Spanish studio’s take on Serpentine featured a web of translucent, multi-colored plastic tunnels, a playful take on the annual pavilion.
2014: Smiljan Radic
The Chilean architect created a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure that resembled a raised cave, which was used as a cafe.
2013: Sou Fujimoto
The celebrated Japanese architect’s cloud-like structure transformed simple white poles into an ethereal display.
2012: Herzog & De Meuron and Al Weiwei
Offering a look back to compliment the streamlined, futuristic facade, this edition of the Serpentine Pavilion featured a subterranean gallery of sorts that explored the history of the 10 previous installments.
2011: Peter Zumthor
The Swiss architect’s stark, black building gives way to a pleasant surprise, a hidden garden of flowers and shrubs within the park.
2010: Jean Nouvel
The French architect’s bold series of cantilevered metal forms played off the deep red found on British phone booths and buses, and provided a stark contrast to the vivid green around the park.
The organic, aluminum roof, which curves around the park’s trees, reflects the sky and foliage.
2008: Frank Gehry
This complex series of wooden grids and glass panes was inspired in part by da Vinci’s designs for a catapult.
2007: Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen
The first two-story design resembles a massive spinning top, with a spiraling walkway that leads to a viewing area above the park.
2006: Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond
This massive, ovoid-shaped dome, which was illuminated at night, rested like a crown above a café and forum.
2005: Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond
Crafted with a polycarbonite “skin” that lit up at night with solar-powered lights, this design by a duo of Portuguese architects was envisioned as a “crouching animal.”
2004: MVRDV (never realized)
Some ideas prove too far fetched for the annual pavilion; the Dutch firm’s design for an artificial mountain proved too expensive, and the installation was canceled.
2003: Oscar Niemeyer
The Brazilian legend created a subtle sweep in steel, aluminum and glass.
2002: Toyo Ito
The Japanese architect sliced a “solid” space, creating angular gaps amid a steel frame.
2001: Daniel Libeskind
The Polish-American architect devised a spiraling metal sculpture which he called "Eighteen Turns."
2000: Zaha Hadid
Dame Hadid kicked off this long-running tradition with a relatively subdued design, a series of triangular-shaped steel petals enclosing a modest pavilion.