Serpentine Gallery Pavilion
The idea of vertical circulation


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture


Based on the principle of a winding ramp, the 2007 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion explored the idea of vertical circulation within a single space. The aim was to reconsider the traditional, single-level pavilion structure by adding a third dimension: height. While journeying upwards, visitors first encounter the interior space, which was followed by an enclosed stretch of the ramp with the surroundings only glimpsed through the louvered facade. As they proceeded, visitors completed the spiralling movement, the ramp became integrated into the roof of the Pavilion, and they experienced a full, unhindered view of the park.

The vertical movement of visitors in the Pavilion complemented the horizontal circulation in the exhibition spaces at the adjacent Serpentine Gallery.

Technical details

Installation & Commissions, Art
London, United Kingdom

Serpentine Gallery


Olafur Eliasson

Visitors were invited to ascend from the lawn to the roof via the ramp, which functioned as a mediator between the Pavilion interior and its surroundings. The movement and interaction of the visitors were thus a defining component of the Pavilion.

Photo: John Offenbach

The space itself was defined by a geometric pattern that was both articulated as the wall surface and as places in which one can sit.

Photo: John Offenbach

Photo: Luke Hayes