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From Pentagram, An Illustrated Guide To London’s Wildest Architecture

The international design firm taps artist Hiromi Suzuki to illustrate each of London’s fiercely experimental Serpentine Pavilions.

The first Serpentine Pavilion, built in 2000 by starchitect Zaha Hadid, was supposed to last for one night only. But the structure, which sat next to the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park, received such an ecstatic response that the pavilion was left up all summer. Since then, a team of planners and architects have brought a new pavilion to life every year, each by an international architect who has never before built in the U.K. The pavilions are built on a nearly nonexistent budget, and have given starchitects like Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas space to play with buildings that are both experimental and cheap.

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Now, on the 15th anniversary of the Serpentine Pavilion program, the international design firm Pentagram has released drawings of each pavilion, a project led by Marina Willer with illustrator Hiromi Suzuki*, as part of a website geared toward kids. Build Your Own Pavilion, as it’s called, is designed to make the experience of architecture accessible to children. To that end, Suzuki used the kinds of papers and pens kids are familiar with to give the illustrations a “tangible” feel, Pentagram writes. Pentagram developed the website in partnership with the British education company Kidesign.


Suzuki’s illustrations reduce the pavilions to their playful essence–the shapes and colors that make them recognizable. To kids, these designs will look like something they could easily create, which is exactly the point. Over the next three years, Serpentine and Kidesign will host a series of events in which they’ll ask kids to create their own pavilion designs. The winners of each individual event will get a 3-D printed copy of their design. Ultimately, one of these kids designs will become the real pavilion for a future summer. Seeing how Hadid’s career has taken off since her first pavilion, this is nothing to be taken lightly. The next great starchitect may just be a 10 year old.

*A previous version of this article misstated who Ms. Suzuki was – she in fact worked on Marina Willer’s team at Pentagram. We regret the error.

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I'm a writer living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Interests include social justice, cats, and the future.

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