The gallery itself is housed in a 1934 tea pavilion, converted into a contemporary art showroom in 1970 by the British Arts Council. Since 2000, a temporary pavilion with an area of 300 m2 with the function of a cafe and an auditorium has been built every summer nearby. Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Toyoo Ito and Oscar Niemeyer have already designed this building, and their pavilions, despite the differences in the style of the authors, were more or less traditional structures.
Now Serpentine director Julia Peyton-Jones has invited the Dutch workshop MVRDV to design the new pavilion: the architects proposed to build a huge 23 m high grassy mountain over the gallery building itself, while the cafe will be located in the annex to the side.
Their idea is to combine both Kensington Gardens' destinations for art and relaxation in the new pavilion. The space “under the mountain” will be mysterious, in the style of films about agent 007 or “Harbinger of the Storm,” said co-founder of MVRDV Vinnie Maas. Visitors can also climb to the top of the mountain and admire the views of London from there.
Critics have already raised a number of questions about this original project: will they manage to build such a mountain in time? Will sponsors have enough money for 200 tons of steel structures? Can the grass take root on an artificial slope at an angle of 45 degrees? So far they remain unanswered.