Tag Archives: Hyde Park

52: Check out the latest trends in architecture at the Serpentine Pavilion

As I was writing my latest post on London as a site of architectural experimentation, I thought of a place where you can check out cutting-edge structures in the making.

The Serpentine Galleries, with an unbeatable location in the heart of Kensington Gardens, commission every year a temporary summer pavilion by an internationally renowned architect. This project started in 2000 with Zaha Hadid (who also designed the newly opened Sackler Gallery on the opposite side of the Serpentine lake).

Serpentine Gallery

This year the Serpentine Pavilion is one of the weirdest ever. Designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić and open until the 19th of October, it is a donut-shaped structure resembling a shell – or maybe a prehistoric egg – or maybe a UFO – with a café inside.

Serpentine Pavilion

The Serpentine Galleries are free and definitely worth a look if you find yourself in the area.

And while in Kensington Gardens, go and look for Peter Pan’s statue – less cutting-edge of course, but with the advantage of longevity: erected more than a century ago, it will outlive many more Serpentine Pavilions.

Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge

22: Look for Peter Pan’s statue in Kensington Gardens

Peter Pan's Statue in Kensington Gardens 1

Along the bank of the Long Water (the upper part of the Serpentine)), in the North East corner of Kensington Gardens, stands George Framton’s statue of Peter Pan, with Tinkerbell climbing its base.

Peter Pan's Statue in Kensington Gardens 2

Peter Pan’s author, J. M. Barrie, specifically chose this location as it figures in the first novel where Peter Pan appears, 1902’s Little White Bird. Though admittedly twee, it is one of the most popular statues of Kensington Gardens and definitely worth checking out if you’re in the park.

Nearest station: Lancaster Gate