The Serpentine Galleries has announced that Korean architect Minsuk Cho, hailing from Seoul, has been commissioned to design the 23rd Pavilion. This marks a continuation of the innovative commission that commenced in 2000 with Dame Zaha Hadid and has since featured the pioneering works of prominent figures and emerging talents in global architecture.
Cho, the visionary force behind Mass Studies, brings his distinct touch to the Pavilion, aptly named’ Archipelagic Void.’ This term refers to a design concept where individual structures, or’ islands, ‘ are arranged around a central open space or void. ‘ This avant-garde creation comprises five’ islands’ strategically arranged around an open space. Mass Studies envisions a void that comes to life through smaller, adaptable structures at its periphery, seamlessly blending with the park’s natural surroundings and temporal dynamics. These structures form a constellation, shaping a central circular void.
The Madang-inspired central void is at the heart of this spatial marvel, reminiscent of a small courtyard found in traditional Korean houses. It is designed to accommodate diverse spatial narratives, ranging from individual everyday activities to significant collective events.
Each structure surrounding the void is conceived as a “content machine,” serving distinct purposes. The Gallery extends Serpentine South’s curatorial activities outdoors, while the Auditorium is a communal gathering space. A small library offers a tranquil pause, paying homage to the Pavilion’s historical role as a tea pavilion. The Play Tower, characterized by openness, features a netted structure, adding a playful element to the ensemble.
Collectively, these components form a montage of ten spaces around the void—five covered and five open areas, seamlessly integrating with the park and Pavilion activities. Bathed in varying natural light conditions, these flexible spaces will play host to live programs and welcome visitors throughout the Summer until October.
Minsuk Cho expressed his gratitude at being chosen as the next Serpentine Pavilion Architect, emphasizing a departure from the conventional carte blanche approach. Instead, Cho embraced the challenge of considering existing peripheral elements while exploring the centre as a void, offering new possibilities and narratives.
Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director at Serpentine, lauded Cho’s “Archipelagic Void” as a modular Pavilion—composed of individual structures serving specific functions yet seamlessly uniting as a continuous whole. The Pavilion is expected to open this Summer. It will host Serpentine’s live events and programs throughout the season, featuring Park Nights, the Infinite Ecologies Marathon, and Civic & Education activations.
The Pavilion selection was meticulously made by Serpentine’s leadership team and advisors, including Sou Fujimoto and David Glover. Mass Studies, founded in 2003 by Minsuk Cho, critically explores architecture in the context of mass production and urban conditions, reflecting the complexities of contemporary society. Cho, a distinguished architect born in Seoul, has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Golden Lion Award at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice.
The Serpentine Pavilion 2024 promises to be a testament to architectural innovation and will stand as a model for exploring groundbreaking ideas in the field. As the Pavilion becomes a platform for Serpentine’s summer events, it will continue its legacy of showcasing the work of visionary architects on the global stage.