The Serpentine Sackler Gallery
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery consists of two distinct parts, namely the conversion of a classical 19th century brick structure – The Magazine – and a 21st century tensile structure. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery is thus – after MAXXI in Rome – the second art space where Zaha Hadid Architects have created a synthesis of old and new.
What was a courtyard before became an interior top-lit gallery space. Longitudinal roof lights deliver natural daylight into the whole gallery sequence surrounding the central vaults and with a fixed louver system they create perfectly lit exhibition spaces. Retractable blinds allow for a complete black-out of the galleries. The continuous sky-light makes the vertical protrusion of the central core of the building (containing the two vaults) legible on the inside. These reconstructions and conversions were designed in collaboration with heritage specialist Liam O’Connor and in consultation with English Heritage and Westminster City Council. In addition to the exhibition spaces the restored and converted Magazine also houses the museum shop and offices for the Serpentine’s curatorial team.
The tailored, glass-fiber woven textile membrane is an integral part of the building’s load bearing structure. It stretches between and connects a perimeter ring beam and a set of five interior columns that articulate the roof’s high points.
The tables, banquets and chairs are designed as a continuous Voronoi pattern, reminiscent of organic cell structures with the aim to create an intense aesthetic experience, an atmosphere that seems to oscillate between being an extension of the delightful beauty of the surrounding nature and of being an alluring invitation into the enigma of contemporary art.