The Serpentine Sackler Gallery launches with a new extension by Zaha Hadid

Art gallery with amazing architecture
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid has breathed new life into The Magazine building - an 1805 former gunpowder store, located a stone's throw from the original Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park - and added a curvaceous new extension.
(Image credit: Luke Hayes)

Three years after getting the nod from The Royal Parks, the Serpentine will finally open its new Serpentine Sackler Gallery (opens in new tab) this Saturday, a Grade II*-listed building located a stone's throw from the original gallery in Hyde Park. 

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid (opens in new tab) has transformed the interior of the Magazine building - a 200-year-old former gunpowder store - and added a curvaceous new extension as a contemporary counterpoint. The new space will bring some 900 sq m to the gallery's footprint, and will house the Magazine restaurant along with an exhibition space and function rooms.

Hadid rendered her classic curves in a soft and gentle fashion for the new annex in order to respect the neo-classical original. 'We wanted to use a new materiality,' says the architect, who opted for a PTFE coated, glass-fibre woven fabric membrane for the exterior skin. 'It looks temporary but is actually attached to the [existing] building in a really light way.'

The gallery has a long-held relationship with the UK-based architect, who designed the first of its annual summer Serpentine Gallery Pavilions in 2000 (opens in new tab). 'We wanted to work with her again for many reasons - primarily because she has no realised [permanent] buildings in Central London and she is one of the most distinguished architects working today,' says Serpentine Gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones. 'She married the old and the new extraordinarily.'

Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of exhibitions and programmes, adds: 'The German art historian Erwin Panofsky (opens in new tab) said that we invent the future out of fragments of the past, and that is exactly what is happening here.'

The existing structure's careful restoration was spearheaded by the Serpentine and Hadid, in partnership with The Royal Parks (opens in new tab), while the landscaping around it was created by landscape designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd (opens in new tab)

The new and existing galleries will work together to host a programme of art exhibitions - the first of which is a solo show of the work of Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas (opens in new tab), who creates monumental pieces in concrete, wood, steel and clay. 'Adrian wanted to develop a project where he really embraces the building's contradictions, the old and the new, the future and the past, the different traditions of the building,' says Jochen Volz, head of programmes at the gallery. Meanwhile, the original Serpentine building will be hosting the first solo exhibition in a UK public institution of Italian artist Marisa Merz (opens in new tab).

This new addition to Hyde Park is named after Dr Mortimer and Dame Theresa Sackler, whose foundation supported the project with the largest single gift received by the Gallery in its 43-year history.

The Magazine restaurant, as well as exhibition space and function rooms

Opening to the public on Saturday, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery will secure some 900 sq m of much-needed space for the London gallery, and will be home to The Magazine restaurant, as well as exhibition space and function rooms

(Image credit: TBC)

The original neo-classical building of Serpentine Sackler Gallery

The original neo-classical building's careful restoration was spearheaded by the Serpentine and Hadid, in partnership with The Royal Parks

(Image credit: TBC)

Curvy design for art gallery

Hadid's classic curves are rendered in a soft and gentle fashion for the extension in order to respect the Grade II* listed original building

(Image credit: TBC)

Art galleries with beautiful infrastructure

'We wanted to use a new materiality,' says the architect, who opted for a PTFE coated, glass-fibre woven fabric membrane on the outside of the structure. 'It looks temporary but is actually attached to the [existing] building in a really light way'

(Image credit: TBC)

Curvy roof and interior of art gallery

The curvaceous interior of the new extension

(Image credit: TBC)

Restaurant with curvy roof and beautiful exterior

The Magazine restaurant

(Image credit: TBC)

Brick wall with new interior

The interior of the renovated 1805 building

(Image credit: TBC)

White walls with tiles flooring and glass roof

Hyde Park's new gallery is named after Dr Mortimer and Dame Theresa Sackler, whose Foundation supported the project with the largest single gift received by the Gallery in its 43-year history.

(Image credit: Luke Hayes)

ADDRESS

Serpentine Sackler Gallery 
West Carriage Drive 
Kensington Gardens
London W2 2AR

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor 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) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).