2020–ongoing London, GB

Serpentine Pavilion

Dear Architecture,

In the wake of increased migration,
We exclude.
In the wake of ‘progress’, we’re boldly complacent,
We are violently silent.
In the wake of catastrophe, we are earnestly separate,
We are inclining inward.
In the wake of us drowning in environmental racism,
We have been complicit.

In response, this project looks outward from the Serpentine in order to look inward at London and beyond; to bring in other voices, narratives, histories and futures to the Serpentine.


As a critical take on social sustainability and architectures and institutions of care, this project takes the form of a 4-month-long wake, during which the structure of the pavilion is systematically brought into being from places of community and minority that make London.

The Pavilion will include moveable small parts that will be displaced to neighbourhoods across London. Following community events at these locations, the parts will be returned to the structure, completing it over the summer.

In this pavilion – an engagement with the dis-placement, and re-placement of peoples and place – we acknowledge sites of absence and sites of presence. It is a set of architectures entangled in the contemporary reconfiguration of belonging — places of memory and care in Brixton, Hoxton, Hackney, Whitechapel, Edgware Road, Peckham, Ealing, North Kensington and beyond are transferred onto the Serpentine lawn. Where they intersect, they produce spaces to be together.

Spaces where, perhaps, you could meet someone.

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 – allowing us the opportunity to extend and deepen our engagement process over two years. We are excited to launch a set of initiatives that will redefine and celebrate the role of gathering and the construction and preservation of belonging in times of crisis – reversing the original procession, so that a cascade of dialogues, events, programmes, and fragments of the Pavilion will pop-up incrementally in real and digital space over the course of 2020 coming together in 2021 in Kensington Gardens to form Pavilion 20 Plus 1.

The pavilion is itself conceived as an event — the coming together of a variety of forms from across London over the course of the Pavilion’s sojourn. These forms are imprints of some of the places, spaces and artefacts which have made care and sustenance part of London’s identity. The breaks, gradients and distinctions in colour and texture between different parts of the Pavilion make this reconstruction and piecing together legible at a glance. As an object, experienced through movement, it has continuity and consistency, but difference and variation are embedded into the essential gesture at every turn.

Sumayya Vally