BIG to design 2016 Serpentine Pavilion, while the programme expands with four new structures

Copenhagen and New York-based firm Bjarke Ingels Group
Copenhagen and New York-based firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will design the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion in London, set to open this summer. Pictured here, BIG’s Two World Trade Center in Manhattan. Courtesy of dbox
(Image credit: Courtesy of dbox)

The annual Serpentine Pavilion announcement is one of the most highly anticipated architecture events of the year and news has reached us that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is set to design the renowned London gallery's next instalment. But the ambitious art space has upped the ante this year, with additional new plans in the pipeline.

This summer, the architecture programme will also include a quartet of 25 sq m Summer Houses, designed by four different architects, called in by the gallery to create something inspired by the nearby Queen Caroline's Temple – a classical style summer house originally built in 1734. These will be designed by Kunlé Adeyemi - NLÉ (Amsterdam/Lagos); Barkow Leibinger (Berlin/New York); Yona Friedman (Paris); and Asif Khan (London).

The expanded scheme still needs to go through planning with application set to reach Westminster Council later this month; and should this be granted, in a few months Londoners and visitors alike will be able to get a multiplied firsthand experience of contemporary architecture, all from within the historic parkland of Kensington Gardens.

The BIG-designed pavilion will sit at the heart of the commission, allowing for a space where visitors can sit and relax, as well as providing 'a forum for learning, debate and entertainment at night,' explains the gallery. A café on site will be run in partnership with Harrods.

Following up on the pavilion's continued success since the program's inception in 2000 - and last year's brightly coloured design by Spanish architecture firm Selgascano - this year's architectural bonanza is set to open its doors on 10 June, running through to October 2016.

Serpentine Pavilion

BIG's new projects include the forthcoming Greenland National Gallery Of Art. Render: BIG and Glessner

(Image credit: Courtesy of BIG)

the Audemars Piguet Museum in Basel

The firm was also commissioned to expand the Audemars Piguet Museum in Basel. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of BIG)

The BIG-designed pavilion

In addition to the BIG-designed pavilion, four Summer Houses will also appear on Kensington Palace Gardens this June. One will be designed by Yona Friedman, whose drawing La Ville Spatiale is pictured here. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of Yona Friedman Archives Paris)

Serpentine Pavilion

Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ is also creating a Summer House for this programme. Pictured: NLÉ's design for the Black Rhino Academy. 

(Image credit: Courtesy of NLÉ)

Pavilion for the American Academy in Berlin

Berlin-based practice Barkow Leibinger has previously worked on the Fellow's Pavilion for the American Academy in Berlin (pictured). This summer it will be part of the Serpentine Gallery programme too. 

(Image credit: Stefan Muller)

Coca Cola Beatbox Pavilion design for London 2012 Summer Olympics

Asif Khan, the fourth architect to work on a Summer House for the Serpentine, has previous experience in creating temporary structures. Pictured: his Coca Cola Beatbox Pavilion design for London 2012 Summer Olympics. 

(Image credit: Hufton + Crow)


For more information on BIG, visit the website. The programme runs from 10 June until 9 October 2016


Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA 



Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).