An annual beacon of light in the predictably miserable British Summer comes in the shape of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Each year the Serpentine commissions an internationally acclaimed architect who hasn't completed a building in the UK, to create a temporary structure next to the gallery in London's Hyde Park and the meteoric success of the project is entirely due to the imaginative interpretations of each commission.
Part building, part work of art click here to see how the structure took shape...
This year it's the turn of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Norwegian architect Kjetil Thorsen. Anyone who lounged under the misty sun (albeit artificial) of the Tate Modern's Weather Project back in 2003 will be aware of Eliasson's ability to defy the rain and turn around a gloomy summer.
This time, the artist, together with Thorsen, has created a timber-clad structure, reminiscent of a giant spinning top. Unlike the projects of previous years, the duo has experimented with vertical dimensions, abandoning the single-level structures of pavilions past. A wide spiralling ramp rises from the lawns of the gallery, winds twice around the building and ends with a viewpoint over Kensington gardens and into the chamber below.
Speaking of their design the pair said: 'Our collaboration is defined by our mutual focus on the experience of space and on temporality as a constitutive element of spaces, private or public. The aim is to reconsider the traditional single-level pavilion by adding a third dimension: height. The vertical movement of visitors will complement the horizontal circulation in the exhibition spaces at the adjacent Serpentine Gallery.' The pavilion will play host to a series of education and public programmes conceived by Eliasson himself, culminating in a 48-hour marathon, laboratory-type event, exploring what he calls 'the architecture of the senses'.
And never ones to miss a trick, we got in first and grabbed a sneak preview of the pavilion over the course of the four weeks it took to construct. Click here to see how the structure took shape.