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press release

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009
Designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

The Serpentine Gallery is delighted to announce that the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 will be designed by architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, of the leading Japanese practice SANAA. Sejima and Nishizawa’s Pavilion will be the architects’ first built structure in the UK and the ninth commission in the Gallery’s annual series of Pavilions, the world’s first and most ambitious architectural programme of its kind. The Pavilion will open in July on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn, where it will remain until October.

Sejima and Nishizawa’ s pioneering buildings have created an architecture that marries aesthetic simplicity with technical complexity, defining a new architectural language, which plays with light and perception. Sought after by high-profile clients the world over, from the Louvre Museum in Lens, France, to the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, USA, SANAA’s projects are open stages, which make visible the connection between the built structure, the users and the natural environment.

Sejima, who in her early days studied at the Japan Women's University and worked with architect Toyo Ito, designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2002, began collaborating with Nishizawa in 1995. Sejima and Nishizawa’s Pavilion will operate as a café and as a venue for the Gallery’s acclaimed programme of public talks and events, Park Nights, attracting up to 250,000 visitors every summer. Sejima and Nishizawa will work with the structural design and engineering firm SAPS, led by Mutsuro Sasaki, and with the Arup team, led by David Glover and Ed Clark with Cecil Balmond, to realise this project.

Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, said: “It is our dream come true to be working with world-leading architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. Their work will be a wonderful addition to the Pavilion series, the only commission of its kind worldwide that annually gives preeminent architects their debut in this country and brings the best of contemporary architecture to London for everyone to enjoy.”

There is no budget for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission. It is paid for by sponsorship, sponsorship help-in-kind, and the sale of the finished structure, which does not cover more than 40% of its cost. The Serpentine Gallery collaborates with a range of companies and individuals whose support makes it possible to realise the Pavilion.

NetJets Europe is the title sponsor for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009. Mark Booth, Executive Chairman said: “We’re looking forward to seeing Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa’s plans for the Serpentine Pavilion 2009, and are delighted to help to bring their work to London and to the Serpentine Gallery. Design is an area that we’re passionate about at NetJets and we know it’s something our customers care deeply about too. Design plays an incredibly influential role in how we live, so we’re firmly focussed on how we can bring world-class design to our customers’ flight experience – whether that’s working with Lord Foster on our fleet’s livery and the NetJets 7X, or lending our support to the Serpentine Gallery.”

Arup will provide all the engineering and specialist design solutions for the Pavilion. Arup Director David Glover commented: “Arup's eighth year of commitment to the Serpentine Pavilion reflects our belief in the project and the positive experience our teams get from collaborating with some of the most exciting architects of our time. This year's Pavilion is sure not to disappoint and will doubtless reflect the exciting dynamism that SANAA bring to all of their projects.”

Peter Rogers, Director of Stanhope, will donate his expertise to all aspects of the Pavilion. He said: “The Serpentine Pavilion is a unique project whose innovative and challenging designs transcend normal building projects as well as fusing art and architecture in an exciting built form.”

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa
Kazuyo Sejima (b. 1956, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan) studied architecture at the Japan Women’s University before joining the practice of architect Toyo Ito. She launched her own practice in 1987 and was named the Japan Institute of Architects’ Young Architect of the Year in Japan in 1992. In 1995, Sejima, with Ryue Nishizawa (b. 1966, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan), founded the Tokyo-based firm SANAA (Sejima + Nishizawa and Associates). Nishizawa studied architecture at Yokohama National University and, in addition to his work with Sejima, has also maintained an independent practice since 1997. He holds professorships at prestigious institutions such as Yokohama National University and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Sejima and Nishizawa were jointly awarded the Golden Lion at the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2004. Sejima teaches as a Visiting Professor both at Tama Art University and Keio University in Tokyo and, with Ryue Nishizawa, holds the Jean Labatut Professorship at the School of Architecture at Princeton University, New Jersey, USA. SANAA’s numerous celebrated buildings include a satellite of the Louvre Museum in Lens, France; Toledo Museum of Art's Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio, USA; the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, USA, and the extension of the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern in Valencia, Spain. In Japan, SANAA's work includes the N-Museum in Wakayama; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, and the Onishi Civic Center in Onishi.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Commission
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission was conceived by Serpentine Gallery Director, Julia Peyton-Jones, in 2000. It is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and designers. It is unique worldwide and presents the work of an international architect or design team who, at the time of the Serpentine Gallery's invitation, has not completed a building in England. The Pavilion architects to date are: Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un-realised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, 2000. Each Pavilion is sited on the Gallery’s lawn for three months and the immediacy of the process – a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a peerless model for commissioning architecture.

Park Nights, the Gallery’s acclaimed programme of public talks and events, will take place in Sejima and Nishizawa’s Pavilion, and will culminate in the annual Marathon event that takes place in October. In 2006 the Park Nights programme included the now legendary 24-hour Serpentine Gallery Interview Marathon, convened by Hans Ulrich Obrist and architect Rem Koolhaas, which was followed, in 2007, by the Serpentine Gallery Experiment Marathon presented by artist Olafur Eliasson and Obrist, which featured experiments performed by leading artists and scientists. In 2008, Obrist led over 60 participants in the Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon.

Sponsors and Supporters

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is, both artistically and financially, a hugely ambitious undertaking. The construction and realisation of the Pavilion relies entirely on the support of a significant group of companies and individuals:

Title Sponsor

NetJets Europe was founded in 1996 and today is the largest business jet company in Europe. As the only pan-European operator with its own fleet, NetJets Europe, through NetJets Transportes Aéreos (NTA), is uniquely capable of delivering a consistent, world-class service with an unparalleled commitment to safety and security. NTA is the only dedicated business jet operator to be awarded the IOSA certificate – the highest safety accreditation in the world. In 2008, the NetJets Europe 164-strong fleet flew to 123 countries. NetJets Europe employs a total workforce of more than 1890. NetJets Europe is the marketing agent of NetJets Transportes Aéreos S.A., an EU air carrier.

2009 marks NetJets Europe’s second year as headline sponsor of the Serpentine Pavilion. The company has a long history of involvement in the arts and design world, most recently recruiting Pritzker prize winning architect, Lord Norman Foster, to design its newest and most technologically advanced aircraft, the NetJets Falcon 7X. NetJets also supports Art Basel and TEFAF, two of the world’s leading art fairs.


Arup is the creative force behind many of the world's most innovative projects, bringing together an unrivalled range of technical, design, creative and management skills. For the past eight years Arup has collaborated with a range of the world-renowned architects to design exceptional Pavilions for the public to enjoy on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery.

Stanhope is an inventive developer creating exceptional places in London and the South East. Stanhope is proud to support the Serpentine Gallery as one of London’s most uplifting and inspiring spaces. Since 2001, Peter Rogers, Director of Stanhope, has donated his expertise to all aspects of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions and he continues to play a major role.

Platinum Sponsors

Mace Group is an international consultancy and construction firm with a £580m turnover in 2008, employing 2,900 people and operating across 35 countries. The group’s core business is project and construction management but it is truly multi-disciplinary with services spanning the entire property life cycle.

The company’s head office is in London, with UK offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Hertford, Leeds, and Manchester and International operations throughout Europe, East Africa, Russia and the CIS states, the Middle East and Asia.

Gold Sponsors

Weil, Gotshal & Manges is a leader in the marketplace for sophisticated, international legal services. With more than 1,200 lawyers across the US, Europe and Asia, the firm serves many of the most successful companies in the world in their high-stakes matters and transactions.

Weil Gotshal has built a world-class team of lawyers by pursuing a strategy of steady, purposeful growth. The firm is particularly noted for its expertise in corporate governance, business restructuring and private equity and now has leading lawyers based in London and around the globe.

Silver Sponsors

NÜSSLI is an international leading provider of temporary structures for events, trade fairs and exhibitions. The development and implementation of temporary pavilions is one of the core competences of the company. NÜSSLI is delighted to be working with the Serpentine Gallery to help realize this extraordinary project.

Bronze Sponsors

Davis Langdon is a global construction consultancy, providing managed solutions for clients investing in infrastructure, property and construction. Globally, the firm has over 5000 people in some 105 offices, including over 2000 people in some 30 offices throughout Europe and the Middle East. Since 2001 Davis Langdon has contributed to the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions by advising on budget control, managing time and risk, and assuring delivery of value.

For the sixth year, DP9 will provide essential town planning assistance with all aspects of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion planning application to Westminster City Council.

GTL Partnership Ltd – Innovation below GroundTM is a market leading international foundation solutions company which specialises in screwpile technology. GTL has an acknowledged reputation for innovation, quality and performance. GTL is proud to announce its sponsored involvement in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009. GTL will design, supply and install a foundation solution for Kazuyo Sejima and Rue Nishizawa’s first built project in England.

Providing land surveying and setting out services to prestigious projects nationwide, SES is able to meet clients’ requirements for all surveying disciplines within the property and construction industries.

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa
Kazuyo Sejima (right) and Ryue Nishizawa (left)
© 2008 Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
Photograph © Takashi Okamoto
New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York 2007
Designed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
Architect of Record: Gensler Architects
© 2008 Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Detail, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa 2004
Designed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
© 2008 Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio
Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio 2006
Designed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
© 2008 Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
Serpentine Sponsors
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