Bjarke Ingels to design 2016 Serpentine pavilion – but he’s not the only one

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Bjarke Ingels to design 2016 Serpentine pavilion – but he's not the only one
Copenhagen’s Mountain apartments by Bjarke Ingels Group /© Iwan Baan

Julia Peyton-Jones’s swansong as gallery director includes four more summer houses in Kensington Gardens, designed by architects aged between 36 and 93

“Bigamy” is how the maverick Danish architect Bjarke Ingels describes the work of his practice, the Bjarke Ingels Group (or BIG), which has been announced as the designer of this year’s Serpentine Gallery pavilion. “Why have one when you can have both?” he often quips, in defence of his gleefully pluralist architectural approach.

It is a philosophy that now seems to have been adopted by the Serpentine too. Not content with having just one pavilion on its Kensington Gardens lawn this summer, it has commissioned four more architects to design a series of summer houses to go with it.

While Ingels will be responsible for conjuring a dazzling showpiece structure in the usual spot, the four other architects – who range in age from 36 to 93 – have each been asked to produce a smaller pavilion inspired by Queen Caroline’s Temple, the classical stone summer house that sits a little to the north, built by William Kent in 1734.

It is a characteristically ambitious swansong for Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery since 1991, who began the pavilion programme 16 years ago and will retire this year. She clearly wants to go out with a bang – this five-pavilion bonanza looks a bit like a way of ticking off all the architects she wanted to commission before she left. […]