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MASS STUDIES’ SERPENTINE PAVILION WILL OPEN IN June 2024

Seoul-based architectural firm Mass Studies, led by Minsuk Cho, has been chosen to design the 23rd Serpentine Pavilion, which will be displayed at Serpentine South from June 7 to October 27, 2024. Launching a season of specially curated activations, the upcoming pavilion, titled Archipelagic Void, will play host to a new commissioned soundscape, a library, and a series of performances and talks. It consists of five islands encircling an open space. Each island features adaptable structures at its periphery, integrating with the natural ecology and temporal conditions of the park. Together, these structures form a constellation that shapes a central circular void, drawing inspiration from the Madang of traditional Korean houses. This opening functions as a versatile space that can adapt to accommodate a range of activities, from individual daily routines to larger collective events, aiming to create a dynamic and engaging environment within the Pavilion. 

We began by asking what can be uncovered and added to the Serpentine site, which has already explored over 20 iterations at the center of the lawn, from a roster of great architects and artists. To approach this new chapter differently, instead of viewing it as a carte blanche, we embraced the challenge of considering the many existing peripheral elements while exploring the center as a void,’ describes Minsuk Cho on their approach.

Archipelagic Void | all renders © Mass Studies, courtesy Serpentine

full program revealed for the Archipelagic Void

Supported by Goldman Sachs, the multifaceted Serpentine Pavilion comprises distinct structures like ‘content machines,’ each serving a specific purpose around the central void. As the main entry to the Pavilion, the Gallery will play host to a six-channel sound installation created by musician and composer Jang Young-Gyu, presenting The Willow is <버들은> in the Summer and Moonlight <월정명> in the Autumn. Taking inspiration from the surrounding environment of the Pavilion, Jang incorporates sounds from nature and human activities recorded in Kensington Gardens with traditional Korean vocal music and instruments. The distinctive tones and melodies trace the changing of seasons. They respond to the constantly transforming landscape and ecology of the Park.

Meanwhile, the Library of Unread Books by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal will be in the north. Conceived as a ‘living’ reference library, each book is donated by its previous owner to form a common knowledge pool. Visitors can contribute and submit an unread book to the growing collection. By making these titles accessible, The Library of Unread Books functions as a collective gesture, addressing notions of access and distribution. In a nod to the history of the Serpentine building, the Tea House will take shape in the east. Designed by James Grey West, the Serpentine South building opened in 1934 and originally served as a teahouse until the early 1960s before reopening as an art gallery in 1970. Providing a space for outdoor play, the Pavilion also features the Play Tower, a pyramid structure with a bright orange netscape for visitors to climb and interact. To the west is the Auditorium, the largest structure of the five ‘islands’. With benches built into its inner walls, this space will provide an area for public gatherings, performances, and talks. 

mass studies designs 'archipelagic void' for the 2024 serpentine pavilion in london
the paviloon will host to a new soundscape, a library, and a series of performances and talks

Starting on Friday 7 June, Minsuk Cho will be in conversation with Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist to discuss the inspirations behind this year’s Pavilion, Cho’s approach to architecture and the history of the commission. It will also present a performance by artist, choreographer and dancer Eun-Me Ahn in June to commence the program.‘Cho’s Pavilion is modular by nature, composed of individual structures that serve specific functions yet also come together as a continuous unit. Serpentine is deeply grateful to our loyal partners and supporters for enabling Minsuk Cho’s multifaceted concept to become a reality, and for sustaining the Pavilion each year as a model for exploring innovative ideas in architecture,’ shares Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine. 

During the summer and extending until October, the Serpentine Pavilion 2024 will serve as the stage for Serpentine’s live events program. It will host Park Nights, an interdisciplinary platform offering live experiences in music, poetry, spoken word, and dance. These events will run concurrently with Serpentine’s programs in Technology and Ecology, including the 2024 Infinite Ecologies Marathon and Civic & Education activations. 

new details released for mass studies' 2024 serpentine pavilion in london
it consists of five islands encircling an open space

In July, Serpentine Arts Technologies will host a day of events exploring the relationship of technology, property, and ecology. Visitors will be invited to become stewards of a collective artwork initiated by Tomás Saraceno and his long-term collaborators, the communities of Salinas Grandes in Jujuy, Argentina. Titled Fairclouds, this unique project builds connections between the cycles of water, information and life. By purchasing a partial common ownership licence and becoming part of an international network of stewards, audiences will support the work of indigenous communities in Argentina. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Serpentine Arts Technologies, RadicalxChange and Aerocene Foundation.

Finally, a catalog designed by South Korean Seoul-based designers Sulki and Min will accompany the Pavilion. Bringing together contributors from across the world of architecture, art and poetry, all of which inform Cho’s architectural practice, the publication will feature newly commissioned texts including Kenneth Frampton, architect, writer and former Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, professor of cultural studies and founding director of the Centre for Technology in Humanities, Kyung Hee University; Beatrice Galilee, writer, curator and co-founder of The World Around; Renée Green, artist, writer and filmmaker and Kim Hyesoon, award-winning poet, essayist and critic. The catalog will also include a conversation between Minsuk Cho and Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist, alongside a visual exploration of the design and research materials of this year’s commission.

new details released for mass studies' 2024 serpentine pavilion in london
portrait of Minsuk Cho, image © Mok Jungwook

project info:

name: Serpentine Pavilion 2024 | @serpentineuk

designer: Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies

dates: 7th June – 27th October 2024

supported by: Goldman Sachs

renders: © Mass Studies

portrait: © Mok Jungwook

christina petridou I designboom

may 16, 2024

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