Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup
The Serpentine Pavilion 2006 is co-designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas and structural designer Cecil Balmond. The centrepiece of the design is a spectacular ovoid-shaped inflatable canopy that floats above the Serpentine's lawn. Made from translucent material, the structure is illuminated from within at night. The canopy will be raised into the air or lowered to cover the amphitheatre below according to the weather.
The walled enclosure below the canopy functions both as a café and forum for daily televised and recorded public programmes including live talks and film screenings in the Time Out Park Nights at the Serpentine Gallery programme. Highlights include two 24-hour interview marathons (convened by Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist) with leading politicians, architects, philosophers, writers, artists, film-makers and economists exposing the hidden and invisible layers of London.

A major exhibition of works by the German artist, Thomas Demand, will be on show at the Serpentine during this period. Demand is developing work to be included in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2006.

Rem Koolhaas said: "The 2006 Serpentine Pavilion will be defined by events and activities. We are proposing a space that facilitates the inclusion of individuals in communal dialogue and shared experience."

Cecil Balmond said: "These Pavilions have evolved with various structural typologies and materials, provoking a debate on architecture; this year the exploration continues not only with typology and material but with the very definition of Pavilion."

Each Summer, the Serpentine commissions an internationally acclaimed architect to design a temporary Pavilion for its lawn. The programme is unique worldwide. Conceived by Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Serpentine Gallery, the project represents a rare opportunity for architects to create a more experimental structure in the United Kingdom, where none of those invited has ever built before. Those selected previously are Zaha Hadid, 2000, Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001, Toyo Ito with Arup, 2002, Oscar Niemeyer, 2003, MVRDV, 2004 (unrealised) and Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond – Arup, 2005.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2006 covered an area of 346 square metres and comprised three main structural elements of a floor platform, circular wall enclosure and inflatable roof canopy.

Floor platform
A floor platform extends from the east side of the Gallery across the lawn, ending at the cross path at a height of one metre where a set of stairs will bring visitors back to ground level. The platform will be 10 metres in width, which directly relates to the width of the Serpentine’s North Gallery. It is constructed from lightweight steel structural beams, creating a frame to support a floor surface of perforated metal sheet. Both elements will be galvanised. The central area within the walled structures will contain a number of mobile seating/table units, which can be arranged by the visitor during the day for eating, drinking and watching footage of previous talks and activities. The units can be moved to form a more formal seating arrangement when the space is used for talks and film screenings.

Circular wall enclosure
Where the floor platform widens, a circular enclosure is created by fixing a series of translucent polycarbonate wall panels to the perimeter, this wall is five metres in height. An inner circular wall constructed from the same material will be set inside the outer wall, with a space of 1.6 metres between the two. These two walls are held in position by a series of tensioned steel cables.

The central space within the inner ring wall is activated in a number of ways depending on the time of day and public programme. The main use is for the positioning of mobile seating/table units for café users, at other times this space will provide the setting for the talks and film programme, accommodating up to 300 people. This area is the hub of the activity in the Pavilion and will allow free access to the public so they can participate and enjoy the facilities provided. LCD TV screens in the cladding will provide information and show recordings of discussions and talks that have taken place in the Pavilion.

Inflatable roof canopy
The Pavilion design will incorporate a helium and air filled inflatable roof that can be raised and lowered to accommodate the activities within the structure. It will provide protection from the weather – shade at the height of Summer and rain and wind cover in the Autumn. The inflatable roof will be ovoid in shape and extend to a maximum height of 24 metres when open. In the closed position the height will be 20 metres. Although higher than the Gallery building, it is not higher than some of the surrounding trees. The roof will be fabricated from semi-clear PVC-coated polyester. The base of the 5 inflatable is hollowed out to produce a cubic void 10 metres by 10 metres by four metres high. The inflatable roof will be held securely in position by cables attached to four electrical winches, which in turn are anchored to the ground.

In dialogue with Rem Koolhaas, the artist Thomas Demand is developing an element to be included in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2006.

13 July – 15 October 2006

Construction period:
8 May 2006 – 4 July 2006

Overall Site area:
650 sqm

Footprint of Pavilion:
346 sqm

Maximum height of inflated membrane:

Floor platform:
Galvanised steel frame with non–slip galvanised floor; Roof canopy: Semitransparent PVC air filled membrane; Walls:
Clear twin walled polycarbonate sheet.

Pavilion Programme:
Time Out Park Nights programme of talks, films, lectures, throughout the Pavilion period (18.00 – 23.00). By special arrangement, and with permission from the Royal Parks, two 24-hour interview events were held, over two separate weekends, within the Pavilion

Architectural Design:
Partner in Charge: Rem Koolhaas
Project Architect: Clement Blanchet
Team: Adam Furman, Karel Wuytack, Karen Crequer

Integrated Design: Arup
Principal in Charge:
Cecil Balmond
Team: Chris Carroll, Carolina Bartram, Tristan Simmonds, Steve Walker, Andrew Grant, Anthony Ferguson, Phil Greenup

Project Advisors:
Lord Palumbo, Serpentine Board of Trustees; Zaha Hadid, Serpentine Board of Trustees; Peter Rogers, Stanhope Plc; Mark Camley, Royal Parks Agency

Project Directors:
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Serpentine Gallery and Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Priojects

Project Manager:
Mark Robinson

Project Organiser:
Kathryn Rattee, Serpentine Gallery

Planning and Building Control:
City of Westminster Planning and Transportation Department

Quantity Surveyors:
Davis Langdon Management; Town Planning Consultants DP9

Construction Management:
Bovis Lend Lease

Planning Supervisor:
Bovis Lend Lease

Knight Frank

Ground Works and Site Facilities:
John Doyle Group; GTL Partnership Ltd; SES Ltd

Flooring System:
FH Brundle; Sheetfabs; 13

Polycarbonate Wall System:
Bay Plastics Ltd; Sheetfabs

Inflatable Structure:
Hightex with Tensys

Structural Steel:
William Hare

Lighting Installation:
T Clarke

Lighting Supply:

AV Consultant:
Mark Johnson Consultants Ltd


Dismantling and Refurbishment:

The Observer, 26 June 2006
, 5 July 2006
BD, 7 July 2006
New York Times Magazine, 23 July 2006

23 July, New York Times, USA
12 July Trouw, NL
7 July The Times, UK
7 July The Independent, UK
7 July The Guardian, UK
6 July Evening Standard, UK
4 July The Volksrant, NL
3 July International Herald Tribune, USA