London’s Serpentine Galleries are looking for new owners for their four summer houses, which have hit the market via The Modern House
Each of the follies is inspired by their current neighbour in London’s Kensington Gardens: the 18th-century Queen Caroline’s Temple. They are part of this year’s bumper Serpentine Pavilion programme, headlined by Danish practice BIG’s ‘unzipped wall’.
Designer Asif Khan took cues from the temple’s sundial for his tea house structure, priced at £95,000. A rippled ribcage of timber staves wraps around a polished metal platform. It’s conceived ‘to appear as if the summer house might have grown out of the ground,’ says Khan.
For the same price, you can pick up Nigerian-born architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s creation – the most faithful interpretation of the folly, based on its inverse replica. ‘Our design aims to fulfil the simple primary purpose of a Summer House: a space for shelter and relaxation,’ says Adeyemi, who built the prefab structure from blocks of rough sandstone.
French-Hungarian architect Yona Friedman’s ‘space-chain structure’ is also being offered at £95,000. Its stacked cubes can be disassembled and reconfigured in different compositions.
At £125,000, Berlin practice Barkow Leibinger’s wooden ribbon requires the deepest pockets. The curvaceous design takes inspiration from another (now vanished) park monument, a rotating hilltop house, and is ‘reminiscent of a blind contour drawing’, says the practice.
Would-be-buyers can experience the summer houses in Kensington Gardens until 9 October, after which they’ll be taken down in readiness for their new homes.
So far, no announcement has been made about the sale of BIG’s sugar-cube pavilion (though it’s reportedly been sold to Canadian developer Westbank). Last year’s candy-coloured design by Spanish practice SelgasCano was bought for an undisclosed sum (thought to be over £500,000) by co-working mavericks, Second Home. It’s set for a new life as an arts events space in LA.
Proceeds from the summer houses’ sale will go towards covering the cost of the galleries’ programme, which is free to the public. This year’s pavilion bonanza is the swan song of out-going gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones.