Ai Weiwei to design Serpentine Pavilion

Renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is to design the Serpentine Pavilion for 2012, it has been announced.

Anyone staying at hotel accommodation in London should consider a visit to the capital's Serpentine Gallery if they get the chance.

Not only does the gallery exhibit some of the world's best modern and contemporary art, since 2000 it has also been home to annual temporary pavilions, which have been designed by some of the best-known and original architects around.

Each pavilion is erected for just one year on the gallery's lawn before being replaced by a new structure. While standing, the pavilions provide a unique showcase for contemporary architectural practice.

It has now been announced that Ai Weiwei will be the latest high-profile name to design a pavilion for the Serpentine, in collaboration with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.

It will be the second major project in which the pair have worked together, having previously jointly designed the famous 'Bird's Nest' stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This year's structure will feature 11 columns representing each past pavilion with a twelfth column supporting a floating platform roof 1.5 metres above ground.

It will also see a five-foot hole dug into the lawn's soil which will be used to collect all of the London rain that falls in the area of the pavilion.

In a joint statement, Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron said this approach will allow them to incorporate an "otherwise invisible aspect of reality in the park – the water under the ground – into our pavilion".

"As we dig down into the earth we encounter a diversity of constructed realities such as telephone cables and former foundations. Like a team of archaeologists, we identify these physical fragments as remains of the eleven pavilions built between 2000 and 2011," they added.

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