Contact

73 Juta Street Braamfontein Johannesburg South Africa, 2000

Johannesburg: 26.2041° S, 28.0473° E London: 51.5072° N, 0.1276°

Enquiries: info@counterspace-studio.com Press: comms@counterspace-studio.com

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“My practice, and this Pavilion, is centred around amplifying and collaborating with multiple and diverse voices from many different histories; with an interest in themes of identity, community, belonging and gathering. The past year has drawn these themes sharply into focus and has allowed me the space to reflect on the incredible generosity of the communities that have been integral to this Pavilion. This has given rise to several initiatives that extend the duration, scale and reach of the Pavilion beyond its physical lifespan. In a time of isolation, these initiatives have deepened the Pavilion’s intents toward sustained collaboration, and I am excited to continue this engagement with the Serpentine’s civic and education teams and our partners over the summer and beyond.” – Sumayya Vally

About

The Pavilion’s design is based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across several London neighbourhoods significant to diasporic and cross-cultural communities, including Brixton, Hoxton, Tower Hamlets, Edgware Road, Barking and Dagenham and Peckham, among others. Responding to the historical erasure and scarcity of informal community spaces across the city, the Pavilion references and pays homage to existing and erased places that have held communities over time and continue to do so today. Among them are: some of the first mosques built in the city, such as Fazl Mosque and East London Mosque, cooperative bookshops including Centerprise, Hackney; entertainment and cultural sites including The Four Aces Club on Dalston Lane, The Mangrove restaurant and the Notting Hill Carnival.

The forms in the Pavilion are a result of abstracting, superimposing and splicing elements from architectures that vary in scales of intimacy, translating the shapes of London into the Pavilion structure in Kensington Gardens. Where these forms meet, they create a new place for gathering in the Pavilion.

The Pavilion is built of reclaimed steel, cork and timber covered with micro-cement. The varying textures, hues of pink and brown are drawn directly from the architecture of London and reference changes in quality of light.

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Research

This is a map of gathering spaces that the Serpentine Pavilion 2020/2021 draws on and honours; based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across several London neighbourhoods significant to diasporic and cross-cultural communities. Responding to the historical erasure and scarcity of informal community spaces across the city, the Pavilion references and pays homage to existing and erased places that have helped communities over time and continue to do so today.

Extracts from the Serpentine Pavilion 2021 Sumayya Vally, Counterspace Catalogue.

Fragments

For the first time in the history of the Serpentine Pavilion commission, four Fragments of the Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Sumayya Vally, Counterspace are placed in partner organisations whose work has inspired its design. They are located in New Beacon Books in Finsbury Park, one of the first Black publishers and booksellers in the UK; a multi-purpose venue and community hub The Tabernacle in Notting Hill; arts centre the Albany in Deptford, and the new Becontree Forever Arts and Culture Hub at Valence Library in Barking and Dagenham, which was established this year to commemorate the centenary of the UK’s largest council housing estate. The Fragments support the everyday operations of these organisations while enabling and honouring gatherings of local communities that they have supported for years. A gesture of decentralising architecture to include a multitude of voices, the Fragments extend out into the city the principals on which the Pavilion was designed.

The Fragment at New Beacon Books offers an additional space to display books and a seat for customers to browse through them. Additionally, it can also be used as a stage for a reading, lecture or spoken-word performance. At the Albany, the Fragment extends the seating area in the garden for quiet reflection and can also function as a stage for intimate performances. The Fragment at the Tabernacle offers an additional seating area for people to enjoy and share a meal from the Tabernacle restaurant. Additionally, it can be used as a stage for small performances. At Valence Library the Fragment has been designed to be used flexibly, as one structure or divided into smaller sections to respond to the needs of recordings made for the new radio station Becontree Broadcasting. It can also become part of the daily operations of the Valence Library.

Located on the grounds of Serpentine in Kensington Gardens, the Pavilion’s design is based on past and present places of meeting, organising and belonging across several London neighbourhoods significant to diasporic and cross-cultural communities. The forms in the Pavilion are a result of abstracting, superimposing and splicing elements from architectures that vary in scales of intimacy, translating the shapes of London into the Pavilion structure.

An additional Fragment is temporarily on view in Regent’s Park from 14 September to 31 October 2021 as part of Frieze Sculpture. The Fragment’s design responds to the surrounding park and facilitates different types of gatherings.

The Albany has played a vital role for the people of Deptford for over 100 years - a hub for artists, communities and creative enterprise. Originally established in 1894 as The Deptford Fund to improve the plight of local people, it opened its first building, the Albany Institute in 1899. It became the Albany Empire in the 1970s, renowned as a pioneering home for radical community arts. The building was destroyed by fire in 1978, leading to its purpose-built new building opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1982.

A seat at The Albany offers space for rest, reflection, or for a performance or recital. Douglas Way, London SE8 4AG Visit

Becontree Broadcasting Station

Established as part of the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion and the accompanying programme Listening to the City - the fragments sited in Barking and Dagenham, draws on and honours the legacy of Radio Ballads and the Serpentine Civic team’s legacy of collaboration in Barking and Dagenham. Made for the radio station (a very important form of public space), the podium will support the daily operations of the Becontree Broadcasting Station, and create a place for gathering and sharing of stories. The fragment was constructed to be used flexibly, as a single piece or divided into smaller elements. It honours the histories of places and people in the neighbourhood with its design and programming that engages with the communities in the surrounding area. BBS is an open and inclusive radio platform for the local community, and offer free workshops, and a chance to develop your own radio show, no experience necessary. If you have an idea for a radio programme, DJing, podcasts, or are just interested in audio production and radio, please contact jnamy@lbbd.gov.uk to get involved.

Becontree Broadcasting Station Launch: Listening with Brian Eno, Sumayya Vally, Joe Namy and DJ Tati

To celebrate the launch of Becontree Broadcasting Station, Serpentine 2021 Pavilion architect Sumayya Vally, artists Brian Eno and Joe Namy, and DJ Tati host a listening session at Valence Library. Featuring a selection of tracks, archival recordings and sound works that create alternative ways of experiencing changing cities through collective listening. Eno, Vally and Namy will each present a variety of music, sound archives and broadcasts, to create alternative narratives of the city and unravel layers of sonic histories. Becontree’s DJ Tati will play sound mixes throughout the session.

Tune In 6 November, 2021 3pm to 5pm

Visit Valence Library Becontree Avenue, Dagenham RM8 3HT

Sound System Sundays

The Tabernacle is a multi-dimensional venue and home to Notting Hill Carnival. Previously a Victorian Church, The Tabernacle was refurbished and converted to serve the secular needs of the local community in 1970s; housing performances, launches, conferences and social occasions in their bar, kitchen and garden.

The stage draws on its continued celebration of song, sound, and street food - for eating street food from the adjacent kiosk, a raised platform to be carried on a float, or a podium for announcements of carnival commencements. Exploring Counterspace’s interest in the history and architecture of sound systems in the UK, the live programme at The Tabernacle will feature six sound systems selected with artist Alvaro Barrington, director of Notting Hill Carnival Matthew Phillip, Serpentine Pavilion 2021 Architect Sumayya Vally and Serpentine, each playing an exclusive set for two hours over two Sundays in October.

Sound System Sundays 10 October 2021 and 17 October 2021 2-8pm FREE 34-35 Powis Square, London W11 2AY Visit

Belonging & Resistance

The fragment offers an additional space to display books and a seat for customers to browse through them. Additionally, it can also be used as a stage for a reading, lecture or spoken-word performance.

Belonging and Resistance: An Evening of Readings at New Beacon Books 24th September 2021 To honour New Beacon Books’ commitment to publishing and distribution of works by Black writers, the bookshop is hosting an evening of readings themed around constructing belonging and the history of places of resistance, co-organised with writer Courttia Newland, New Beacon Books, Serpentine Pavilion 2021 architect Sumayya Vally and Serpentine. The evening will feature Margaret Busby, Tice Cin, Gus John, Irfan Master and Derek Owusu reading their own works and those of other writers that inspired them. Courttia Newland will also read his new essay written for the upcoming catalogue accompanying the Serpentine Pavilion 2021.

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Live Programme

Since its inception, the Pavilion has become an established home for Serpentine’s Live Programmes. This year the Pavilion will also host a specially commissioned sound programme Listening to the City that features work by artists including Ain Bailey and Jay Bernard, connecting visitors to the stories and sounds of selected London neighbourhoods. The design process has also extended into thinking through more equitable, sustainable and imaginative institutional structures by creating Support Structures for Support Structures, a grant and fellowship programme that supports artists who work in, support and hold communities in London through their work.

Live Talk

Live talk between Hans Ulrich Obrist and Sumayya Vally.

Selected Press

  • Africa Avant-Garde: Transformative architecture CNN
  • New Forms of Articulation: Sumayya Vally in conversation with Esther Choi, Deem Journal
  • The best architecture of 2021 by Oliver Wainwright
  • Top five buildings of 2021 by Rowan Moore
  • Top 10 low-carbon buildings of 2021, Dezeen
  • The Art Of Architecture, SkyArts
  • An elegant and accomplished vision, The Times
  • An inclusive space full of ideas, The Guardian
  • Serpentine Pavilion brings migrant meeting points to posh Kensington Gardens, Finacial Times
  • Sumayya Vally on her Serpentine Pavilion, Wallpaper
  • Young female South African architect reinvents Serpentine Pavilion, The Conversation
  • A sophisticated chimera of light and depth, The Observer
  • ‘I Want to Build Differently’: Meet Sumayya Vally, the Youngest Architect Ever to Win the Prestigious Serpentine Pavilion Commission, artnet
  • Sumayya Vally on Her Vision for the Serpentine Pavilion, Dwell

Downloads

pdf

Press Pack

Roof Plan 1:100

Notes

Programme

  • Serpentine Pavilion 2021, Kensington Gardens
  • A stage for The Tabernacle, Notting Hill
  • A podium for Vallance Library, Dagenham
  • A shelf for New Beacon Books, Finsbury Park
  • A seat for The Albany, Deptford

Credits

  • Architect’s Talk: Sumayya Vally & Hans Ulrich Obrist Sumayya Vally. Courtesy of Dezeen
  • Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Counterspace, © Counterspace Photos: Iwan Baan
  • Fragments of Serpentine Pavilion 2021 designed by Counterspace © Counterspace Photos: George Darrell

Project team

  • Counterspace / Architect: Sumayya Vally
  • Project Directors: Hans Ulrich Obrist and Bettina Korek
  • Project Leader: Julie Burnell, Head of Construction and Buildings
  • Project Curator: Natalia Grabowska