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Cork featured at Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

8 May / 2012

Cork has been selected as the distinctive design element for the 2012 architectural presentation at the renowned Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London.

Since 2000 the Serpentine Gallery has annually commissioned international architects of worldwide acclaim to design a pavilion that showcases contemporary architectural practice.

The 12th commission in the gallery’s series is being led by renowned architectural design firm Herzog & de Meuron and leading artist Ai Weiwei. This design team was responsible for the celebrated Beijing National Stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei have chosen cork as the key construction material for this architectural landmark. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which is being presented as part of the London 2012 Festival, is Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei's first collaborative built structure in the UK.

Cork, supplied by Corticeira Amorim, is the structural element at the core of this iconic project. According to the architects, natural cork was used because of its unique qualities. Herzog & de Meuron said: “Cork is a natural material with wonderful haptic qualities, with the versatility to be carved, cut, shaped and formed.”

“This partnership embodies Amorim’s incessant drive to make the unbeatable technical and sustainability credentials of natural cork known worldwide,” said Corticeira Amorim chairman and CEO António Amorim.

“Seeing cork so beautifully and prominently featured, not only makes us very proud, but also provides a great opportunity for consumers and professionals to better understand that cork is truly nature’s own high-tech 21st century material.”

Taking an archaeological approach, Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei have designed a pavilion that will inspire visitors to look beneath the surface, to its structure.

The concept is based on an invitation to go back in time and explore the remains of the 11 previous Serpentine Gallery Pavilions. Eleven columns acknowledge the former pavilions and a 12th, representing the current structure, will support a floating platform roof 1.5 metres above the ground.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is considered an annual landmark in the world of architecture. An initiative that entails the design of an iconic structure, it attracts an average of 250,000 visitors a year.

Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, Oscar Niemeyer, Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid and Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto Moura are some of the internationally renowned architects responsible for past designs.

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