It’s Time for a New Serpentine Design Brief

Building Design May 18, 2012
  • Hank Dittmar


It would be hard to invent the story that has unfolded around the Serpentine pavilion’s chosen superstars for 2012, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, and their proposal to excavate and interpret the lost foundations of the previous dozen pavilions. The discovery that the previous pavilions lacked foundations—or that the foundations had been removed—means that the designers are free to make up their own story about the previous structures. And the idea that their structure will be a disc upon which people can reflect their own desires—through dance or whatever—perfectly reflects the disengagement between the architecture of spectacle and meaning. One suspects that the story is playing out just as Ai Weiwei would have liked.

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© Henry Eric Dittmar 2019

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  • Hank Dittmar

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