Zaha Hadid gains planning permission
for Serpentine Sackler Gallery

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Dezeen Wire:
plans by Zaha Hadid Architects to extend London's Serpentine Gallery have been approved by Westminster Council.

Serpentine Sackler Gallery by Zaha Hadid

An adjacent Grade II listed building will be renovated to contain the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

This will be connected to the existing main gallery by a new café and event space with a lightweight undulating roof.

Read about the Serpentine Pavilions »
More projects by Zaha Hadid Architects on Dezeen »

Here's some more information from the Serpentine Gallery:


Serpentine Sackler Gallery receives planning permission
17 June 2011

Plans by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid for the renovation and development of The Magazine building in Kensington Gardens, to become the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, have been granted permission by Westminster Council it was announced today.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, situated a stone’s throw from the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens will bring a unique listed building into public use for the first time in its 206-year history, providing a new cultural destination and landmark for London. The Gallery is named after Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler, whose Foundation has made the project possible through the largest single gift received by the Serpentine Gallery in its 41-year history.

The restoration and extension will offer nearly 900 square meters of galleries and social space. The adjoining extension will be used as a café/restaurant, creating a permanent architectural landmark in the heart of London.

Westminster Council commended the designs in their report: “The proposals will enable an important listed building, in a highly sensitive landscape setting, to be refurbished and brought into public use, and will enhance Westminster’s role as a major cultural destination. It is an overwhelming opportunity to enhance the significance and re-establish a more formal landscape setting of this currently partly redundant and undervalued heritage asset and would provide a national public benefit.”

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery said: “We are delighted that Zaha Hadid’s visionary designs for the Serpentine Sackler Gallery will be realised here in the heart of London. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the Gallery to create an exciting new platform for contemporary culture for the UK and beyond.”

Zaha Hadid, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects said: “I am absolutely delighted the plans have been granted permission. This is an important milestone for the project that allows the Serpentine Gallery to further develop its acclaimed cultural programmes. I would like to thank all those whose hard work has made this possible both at Westminster Council and the Serpentine Gallery.”

Responding to the Grade II listed building and the Grade I listed landscape, Zaha Hadid has designed a light and transparent extension for the Serpentine Sackler Gallery to be used as a café/restaurant and social space. This will complement the historic structure, which will be refurbished and completed with a new north wing that emphasises the oldest part of the building – the former powder store – as a central citadel. The modern extension will be added to the west, a contemporary lightweight partner to the original building’s classical weight.

Covered by a lightweight tensile membrane, the extension compliments rather than competes with the main building. The structure is defined by a single roof surface that playfully undulates, at times dipping down to touch the ground before rising up again. Roof lights punctuate the peaks of the surface, bringing natural light into the interior. The surrounding grounds, created by the landscape designers Gross Max, also take on an undulating form. Protected trees and hedges, as well as the historic ha-ha, will be retained.

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery will present the best in emerging international talent across all art forms, complementing the existing programme at the Serpentine Gallery. Commissioning new works, public engagement and cultural learning will be at the heart of its programmes, which will include an annual large-scale light installation inside the building and an outdoor Playscape for children and adults of all ages. Like the Serpentine Gallery, it will be free of charge and accessible to all.

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