The 2021 Serpentine Pavilion, London

Celebrate London’s diverse, unique and celebrated gathering places with this year's 20th Serpentine Pavilion, built to commemorate the architecture of London’s community spaces.

As converted believers to the importance of communal spaces, we are more than excited by this year’s Serpentine Pavilion which has been built to reflect and celebrate the diverse communal spaces that make London the unique city it is, both in terms of its architecture and in its ability to bring people together. This year's Pavilion aims to reflect the role or architecture, not only in being the structures for the communal spaces which bring communities together, but in their ability to document the history and evolution of a community too. 

Communal spaces, from houses of worship, to markets, restaurants, bookshops, and art and cultural institutions, should be the heart and soul of any city. Whether they are the result of intentional city planning, or as a result of organic growth to meet a community need or needs, communal and community spaces are crucial to bringing urban residents together. They have the powerful ability to connect people both within and across communities, and apart from providing often crucial community services, they also promote diversity and tolerance. Whether it is somewhere to eat, somewhere to work, somewhere to learn - communal spaces, and their variety are what make neighbourhoods truly great. At the end of the day they are what make cities truly great. 

London’s 20th Serpentine Pavilion is a homage to the city’s communal spaces and its architecture across some of its most diverse neighbourhoods. The focus this year is on the specific areas of Brixton, Hackney and Notting Hill, and it aims to reflect on communal spaces that were but are no more, and those which still exist. 

It is also a reminder of the importance of urban architecture in reflecting the history and communities of a city, even as those communities evolve, change, and migrate. Communal spaces don’t simply exist to meet current community needs, but they are also often a snap shot or a memory of who they served before. The evolution of communal spaces is important and unavoidable in an urban environment, and documenting these changes helps us all understand our cities better. Building communities on communities is what strengthens our neighbourhoods, and the legacy of past communal spaces and the architecture and structures that remain are essential to this. 

This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is the creation of Counterspace, a Johannesburg-based architectural and design team. Head down to the Serpentine grounds of Kensington Gardens and you won't be able to miss it. The current pavilion measures 6m high, is constructed from salvaged steelwork and incorporates sustainable sourced wood, cork and micro-cement, ensuring it practices what it aims to preach when it comes to sustainability. This is an important message also. Our urban centres and their communal spaces depend on our embracing sustainable construction materials, practices and ways to manage them. 

The Pavilion's design aims to remind visitors that communal spaces, and their architecture, are driven first and foremost by the needs of the people who will be using them. And that how communal spaces are used can also mold buildings and structures alongside the communities who use them. There is an important relationship between the buildings of a city, the communal spaces they become, and the people they serve. This relationship is what makes urban centres stronger and more vibrant. 

Its design also reminds us of the importance and value of diversity. London is the city it is, because of its communities, neighbourhoods and people. The multicultural nature of London is alluded to and celebrated through this year's Serpentine Pavilion. Now, more than ever, this is something we need to celebrate/ 

At Vonder, our approach to co-living London, is about connection and balancing great places to live with communal spaces that bring our residents together. We believe in creating communities, not supplanting them, and our approach to co-living, does just that. 




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