Serpentine Pavilion

The city as a construct

Bridging The Long Water between Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, the Serpentine Gallery has always been deeply rooted in its surrounds. And in a year when connections to people and place have been tested, the Serpentine Pavilion 2021 brings themes of community and gathering into striking architectural relief.

Designed by Counterspace, and extended into a two-year commission for the first time since the annual architecture programme was founded, the Serpentine Pavilion has been shaped to echo the London landscape. It is an ode to continuity and consistency – but also the differences that define the city’s identity, in particular the migrant communities that have passed through areas such as Brixton, Hoxton and the Edgware Road.

A counter to distance

Sumayya Vally, a director at Johannesburg-based Counterspace and lead designer of the Serpentine Pavilion 2020/2020 Plus 1, brings a love of her own city to ours. She is intrigued by identity and memory, and the way in which spaces can be both transient and concrete. In the Pavilion, she has brought places of past gatherings and cultural production to the fore, to encourage new kinds of encounters.

Open to all throughout the summer, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion promises a contemplative space to reconnect with the city – and with each other.

We’ve always relied on places of gathering to come together and we miss them when they’re gone. COVID-19 has brought the Pavilion themes of community and gathering sharply into focus.

Sumayya Vally, Counterspace

Find out more


11th June - 17th October 2021


Serpentine South Gallery
Kensington Gardens
W2 3XA