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//Architect Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion 2019

Architect Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion 2019

For 19 straight years now, the Serpentine Gallery – one of the most renowned modern and contemporary art showcases in London – has appointed a world famous architect to design the Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary summer pavilion that is renewed every year at Kensington Gardens, London. There is just one requisite for the position, namely that the architect has never implemented any projects in the United Kingdom. So who is the architect of the Serpentine Pavilion 2019?


The Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has been chosen to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2019, which will seem like a hill that both stands apart from the surrounding landscape and merges into it.

The architect from Tokyo, Director of the firm Junya.Ishigami + Associates, will thus become the 19th designer of the prestigious British pavilion that, as every year, will be installed beside the Serpentine Galleries in Kensington Gardens, London, in June.

Ishigami describes the project as “a hill made out of rocks” created with a natural slate roof to convey the impression of rising from the ground.

This is what the Serpentine Pavilion 2019 will look like. Indeed, the slate undulations endow the structure with highly dynamic, and almost fluctuating, features:

foto Serpentine Pavilion 2019 ishigami


Similarly to his previous architectural projects, including the KAIT workshop with glass walls of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, the Japanese designer’s intention is to show that nature and architecture can harmoniously coexist by merging into each other and enriching the surrounding landscape.

My design for the Pavilion plays with our perspectives of the built environment against the backdrop of a natural landscape, emphasising a natural and organic feel as though it had grown out of the lawn (…). This is an attempt to supplement traditional architecture with modern methodologies and concepts, to create in this place an expanse of scenery like never seen before

Junya Ishigami thus explains the choice of slate as the ideal material for the pavilion:

Possessing the weighty presence of slate roofs seen around the world, and simultaneously appearing so light it could blow away in the breeze, the cluster of scattered rock levitates, like a billowing piece of fabric”, says Ishigami


Ishigami established his architectural practice in 2004 after working as architect for the firm that won the Pritzker SANAA prize, and which designed a mirrored structure for the 2009 edition of the Serpentine Pavilion.

A core trait of Ishigami’s style is the presence of dream elements in his drawings, spanning clouds and forests. This instantly catches the eye in all his recently completed projects, including the glass visitor’s centre that merges into the surrounding nature and stretches along the Vijversburg Park in The Netherlands, and a crèche featuring huge shapes and curves with a decidedly playful style.

foto Parco Vijversburg_Ishigami_Netherlands

Other projects in progress that entirely mirror Junya Ishigami’s style include a ferry station in Japan resembling a mountain range, and a cloud-like building with a navigable lake in the port of Copenhagen.

foto Ishigami_Copenhagen_Cloud_port

The Serpentine Galleries’ supervisors, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Yana Peel, are enthusiastic about the partnership with Ishigami,

We are thrilled to be able to share the designs for Junya Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion – a structure informed by the natural world and situated in the middle of one of London’s greenest spaces: Kensington Gardens

The Serpentine Pavilion by Junya Ishigami follows the project by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo. In June 2018 she inaugurated a fascinating structure, a synthesis of the convergence of Mexican style and British building techniques. We discussed it in the article below, where you can browse through the gallery of all the most famous Serpentine Pavilions:

Il Serpentine Pavilion di Frida Escobedo: storia, estetica e funzionalità


Junya Ishigami (石 上 純 也 Ishigami Junya) is a Japanese architect who was born in the Kanagawa prefecture in 1974.

He attained a Master’s Degree in Architecture and Design at the National University of Fine Arts and Music of Tokyo in 2000, and immediately partnered Kazuyo Sejima at the firm SANAA from 2000 to 2004, before establishing his own architectural practice in 2004: Junya.Ishigami + Associates.

foto Junya Ishigami architect

Ishigami shower solo in the Japanese pavilion at the 11th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2008. He was the youngest winner of the Architectural Institute of Japan’s prize for the Kanagawa Institute of Technology KAIT Workshop in 2009. In 2010 he won the Golden Lion for the best project at the 12th Venice Biennale of Architecture, and was appointed Associate Professor at the Tohoku University, Japan, that same year. In 2014 he was appointed Kenzo Tange Design Critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design, in the United States. Now he has a workshop at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

More projects by Junya Ishigami:

Table Exhibit @Art Basel exhibition, 2006

Balloon Exhibit @Space for your Future Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2007

Japanese Pavilion @Biennale di Venezia, 2008

The Yohji Yamamoto fashion store @New York City, 2008

KAIT Studio for the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Atsugi @Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, 2008

Cloud arch, a major proposed sculpture @Sydney, Australia. 2017

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