London’s Serpentine Gallery will wind its way to Beijing this May, with the launch of the first Serpentine Pavilion Beijing in the Chinese capital’s historic Wangfujing neighborhood. The architectural project, which will run until October and be used as a space for cultural and social events, will be part of the WF Central, a 21,000 sq m property development by Jardine Matheson Group subsidiary Hongkong Land. The pavilion design comes courtesy of Jiakun Architects, a Beijing firm founded in 1999 by Liu Jiakun, who was featured in the China Pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale.
The Serpentine Pavilion Beijing is a continuation of the Serpentine’s initiative of temporary architectural pavilions first launched in 2000 with Zaha Hadid and showcasing architects including Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Sou Fujimoto, and Herzog & Meuron with Ai Weiwei. Beijing marks the first Serpentine Pavilion to be built outside of London, though prior iterations have been reinstalled at Cornwall and Somerset in the UK, Sainte-Maxine, France, and Tirana, Albania. Francis Kéré’s 2017 project is currently headed for Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Jiakun Architects’ design, according to the announcement, will use a curved cantilever beam with elastic cables stretched between steel plates, representing an archer and drawing its inspiration from Confucianism. The Beijing firm was selected by a committee that included Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel, as well as its trustee, architect Sir David Adjaye.