Serpentine Pavilion 2024 by Minsuk Cho, Mass Studies

Serpentine Pavilion 7 June - 27 October 2024 Free Donate today

The Serpentine Pavilion will be open to the public at the following times:

7th June – 18.00-21.00. Public tickets are now fully booked. Walk ups are welcome, if busy you may need to queue to enter.

8th, 9th, 10th June – 10.00-18.00

11th June – 10.00-16.00

12th, 13th, 14th, 15th,16th June – 10.00-18.00

17th June – 10.00-16.00

18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd June – 10.00-18.00

23rd June – 13.00-18.00

24th June – 10.00-18.00

25th June – Closed

26th June – 13.00-18.00

27th June – 10.00 -18.00

28th June – 10.00-16.00

Plan Your Visit
Sponsored by Goldman Sachs

Tracing the history of past Serpentine Pavilions, Minsuk Cho observed that they often emerge as a singular structure situated at the centre of the Serpentine South lawn. To explore new possibilities and previously untold spatial narratives, Cho approaches the centre as an open space. The 23rd Serpentine Pavilion envisions a unique void surrounded by a constellation of smaller, adaptable structures strategically positioned at the periphery of the lawn.

Titled Archipelagic Void, the Pavilion is composed of five ‘islands’, each structure is unique in size, height and form. Built predominantly in timber, these structures are supported by identical footings that adapt to the slightly sloping typography of the site. The curving edges of the individual roofs are conjoined by a steel ring which forms an oculus in the centre that draws natural light. Radiating from the circular void, these islands act as nodes in the lawn, reaching out to connect to the Serpentine South gallery and the pedestrian networks in the Park. This layout also references traditional Korean houses that feature a madang, an open courtyard located at the centre. This space connects to various residential quarters, accommodating individual everyday activities and larger collective rituals throughout the changing seasons.

Around the void, each structure is conceived as a ‘content machine’, serving a different purpose and individually named. The Gallery hosts a six-channel sound installation, The Willow is <버들은> and Moonlight <월정명>. Created by musician and composer Jang Young-Gyu, the work incorporates sounds from nature and human activities recorded in the Kensington Gardens with traditional Korean vocal music and instruments to depict the transition of seasons. The largest structure of the five ’islands’ is the Auditorium. With benches built into its inner walls, this space will provide an area for public gathering, performances and talks to take place. Located to the north is The Library of Unread Books by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal. This ‘living’ reference library, is comprised of donated unread books to form a pool of common knowledge, addressing notions of access, excess and the politics of distribution. The southeast Play Tower is a pyramid structure fitted with a bright orange netscape for visitors to climb and interact. In a nod to the history of the Serpentine, Cho incorporates the Tea House to the east of the Pavilion. Designed by James Grey West, the Serpentine South building originally functioned as a teahouse before reopening as an art gallery in 1970.

About The Willow is <버들은> and Moonlight <월정명>

Taking inspiration from the surrounding environment of the Pavilion, South Korean musician and composer Jang Young-Gyu uses sounds recorded from nature and human activities in Kensington Gardens. Incorporating these recordings with traditional Korean vocal music and instruments including the gayageum (가야금), geomungo (거문고), piri (피리), janggo (장고), and kkwaenggwari (꽹가리), this newly commissioned soundscape traces the changing of seasons and responds to the constantly transforming landscape and ecology of the park. The work The Willow is (버들은) which illustrates the summer season will be presented from June and transitions to Moonlight (월정명) in September to represent the approaching autumn.

About The Library of Unread Books

An artwork that functions as a ‘living’ reference library, The Library of Unread Books was initiated by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal to collectively address notions of access, excess and the politics of distribution. Each book in the collection has been donated by its previous owner who did not read it when it was in their possession. By making these unread books accessible, the library forms a pool of common knowledge for the community. Each title is arranged randomly and in stacks to create a setting that encourages visitors to feel at home.

Architect Biography

About Minsuk Cho

Minsuk Cho was born in Seoul and graduated from the Architectural Engineering Department of Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea) and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University (New York, USA). After working in various firms, including OMA Rotterdam, he established Cho Slade Architecture in 1998 in New York City with partner James Slade. In 2003, he returned to Korea to open his own firm, Mass Studies.

Cho has garnered numerous accolades over the course of his career. Notable among these achievements are his first prize win in the 1994 Shinkenchiku International Residential Architecture Competition and the Architectural League of New York’s Young Architects Award in 2000 for his contributions at Cho Slade Architecture. He also received two U.S. Progressive Architecture Awards (Citations) in 1999 and 2003. His work with Mass Studies earned two nominations for the International Highrise Award (Deutsches Architekturmuseum-DAM), once as a finalist in 2008 for Boutique Monaco and again in 2010 for S-Trenue. The Korea Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai was honoured with the Silver Award in the “Pavilion Design” category from the Bureau of International Expositions, accompanied by a Presidential Citation from the Korean government. Cho co-curated the exhibition “Named Design” at the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011, in collaboration with Anthony Fontenot under the direction of Seung H-Sang and Ai Weiwei. In June 2014, Minsuk Cho received the prestigious Golden Lion Award for the Best National Pavilion while serving as the commissioner and co-curator of the Korean Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Cho was recognised further by receiving the Hwagwan Medal Order of Cultural Merit from the Korean government.

Cho’s work with Mass Studies had been presented in various exhibitions, including the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2004 and 2010, the Vitra Museum travelling exhibition “Open House” from 2006 to 2008, and a solo show titled “Before/After: Mass Studies Does Architecture” at the PLATEAU Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul in 2014. Mass Studies’ architectural designs and presentations are part of the collections and archives of the MoMA (New York), DAM (Frankfurt), Art Institute Chicago, and the Mokchon Architecture Archive (Seoul). Additionally, the 5th edition of Kenneth Frampton’s canonical “Modern Architecture: A Critical History” (2020, Thames & Hudson) highlights Cho and his work in the added South Korea chapter. Minsuk Cho is also an active lecturer and speaker, participating in symposia worldwide.

About Mass Studies

Mass Studies was founded in 2003 by Minsuk Cho in Seoul, Korea, as a critical investigation of architecture in the context of mass production, intensely over-populated urban conditions, and other emergent cultural niches that define contemporary society. Amid the many frictions defining spatial conditions in the twenty-first century, namely past vs. future, local vs. global, utopia vs. reality, and individual vs. collective, Mass Studies focuses on the operative complexity of these multiple conditions instead of striving for a singular, unified perspective. For each architectural project, which exists across a wide range of scales, Mass Studies explores issues such as spatial systems, building materials/techniques, and typological divergences to foster a vision that allows the discovery of new socio-cultural potential.

Representative works include the Pixel House, Missing Matrix, Bundle Matrix, Shanghai Expo 2010: Korea Pavilion, Daum Space.1, Tea Stone/Innisfree, Southcape, Dome-ino, the Daejeon University Residential College, Space K Seoul Museum, Pace Gallery Seoul, Vinegar Park: Choru and the Won Buddhism Wonnam Temple. Current in-progress projects include the new Seoul Film Center (Montage 4:5), the Danginri Cultural Space (Danginri Podium and Promenade), the Yang-dong District Main Street (Sowol Forest), and the Yeonhui Public Housing Complex. Recently completed projects include the restoration and extension of the French Embassy in Korea, the renovation and extension of the Osulloc Tea Museum, and the Osulloc Green Tea Factory.

Artist Biography

About Jang Young-Gyu

Jang Young-Gyu is a musician and composer who has worked with musical groups such as Uhuhboo Project, Be-Being and SsingSsing. He is currently a member of the band Leenalchi. Based in South Korea, his work seeks to create unconventional forms and techniques through exploring Korea’s musical heritage in contemporary music. Jang also composes music for visual narratives and has provided scores for various South Korean blockbuster films and drama series such as The Foul King (2000), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), The Coast Guard (2002), Tazza: The High Rollers (2006), Train to Busan (2016), The Wailing (2016), and Alienoid (2022).

In addition, Jang’s work also extends to the realms for theatre, dance and art. Jang is a long-time collaborator to and has provided music for the performances of South Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn including Dancing Grandmothers and Dragons.

About Heman Chong and Renée Staal

Heman Chong is an artist whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance and writing. Through interrogation and intervention, Chong investigates the function of everyday infrastructure as a political medium. He is currently working on solo shows at UCCA Dune (2024), Singapore Art Museum (2025) and Tai Kwun (2026).

Renée Staal is a Singapore-based collection manager. She has worked at art institutions and architecture practices in Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States. Together, they co-founded The Library of Unread Books in 2016.

Curated by

CURATORS

Yesomi Umolu, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice

Alexa Chow, Project Curator

Natalia Grabowska, Curatorial Advisor

SOUND COMMISSION AND LIBRARY

Yesomi Umolu, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice

Claude Adjil, Curator at Large

Alexa Chow, Project Curator

Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, Project Curator

Archive

Discover over 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architectural Pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas Marathons and research-led initiatives, explore our past projects and exhibitions.

View archive