Zaha Hadid designed Serpentine Sackler Gallery opens

Tomorrow sees the public opening of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery at The Magazine, a former 1805 gunpowder store. Abigail Parkin looks at what visitors can expect. (27 Sep'13)

The new venue brings 900 square metres of new gallery, restaurant and social space a five-minute walk away from the Serpentine Gallery. The Serpentine promises an “unrivalled programme of exhibitions and events across both Galleries and into the Park.”


The new gallery exists largely because of The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, after which it was named. The Foundation donated the largest single gift ever received by the Serpentine Gallery. Major funding was also awarded by Bloomberg who are also sponsors of the opening exhibition. 

In 2010 the Serpentine Gallery won the tender from The Royal Parks to bring the Grade II* listed building into public use for the first time in its 208-year history. The Serpentine Gallery has restored the building in partnership with The Royal Parks


Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Zaha Hadid is renowned for her futuristic creations and the Sackler Gallery is a fusion of the spacey extension with the neo-classical architecture of the original Grade II building. It’s also a debut for the company as Zaha Hadid Architects' first permanent structure in central London and signifies a relationship which began with the inaugural Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Commission in 2000. Externally, the landscape around the new building will be designed and planted by the world-renowned landscape artist Arabella Lennox-Boyd


The opening exhibition in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery is the first UK exhibition by the young Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas, who is on the brink of gaining international renown for his dramatic, large-scale sculptural works. There will also be a major retrospective by Italian sculptor Marisa Merz, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Venice Biennale. A redesigned website will feature the inaugural Digital Commission, while the first annual Bridge Commission explores the route between the two galleries with a series of short stories by twelve internationally acclaimed writers. Each story is timed to last as long as it takes to walk from the Serpentine Gallery to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. The Serpentine's expanded presence in Kensington Gardens will be illustrated by a specially commissioned map by the artist Michael Craig-Martin

The opening of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery takes forward new ideas in contemporary arts presented at the Serpentine Gallery which has featured the exhibitions of global notables such as Louise Bourgeois, Frank Gehry, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol


Amina Technologies
Arabella Lennox-Boyd Landscape Design
Dyson Airblade
Fenwick Elliott
Isometrix Lighting + Design
Stage One
Whitco Catering Equipment Ltd 

Architectural Design Team
Fabian Hecker, Project Architect, 
with Torsten Broeder, Anat Stern, Melodie Leung, Marcela Spadaro and Charles Walker, Zaha Hadid Architects 

Structural Engineering
Ed Clark, with Jolyon Smith and Chris Neighbour, ARUP 

Project Directors
Julia Peyton-Jones, 
with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Galleries 

Project Leader
Julie Burnell, 
with Amy Brown, Serpentine Galleries 

Project Managers
Ian Eggers, Gareth Stapleton, Bob White, Peter George, Wayne Glaze, Pat Walsh, Jim Ledger, Rise 

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