Vally is the brains behind this year’s prestigious commission to design the pavilion for London’s Serpentine Galleries. It’s an honor that has been accorded to famous architects from Frank Gehry to Zaha Hadid; she’s the youngest to take up the mantle.

Vally’s firm—whose name, Counterspace, expresses her interest in elevating the quotidian—has designed a pavilion focused on the theme of community gathering. The pavilion will include detachable components that will be placed in marginalized neighborhoods across London. Following community events at these locations, the parts will be returned to the central structure.

Serpentine Pavilion 2020/2021 designed by Counterspace, Design Render, Interior View, © Counterspace.

The project’s aesthetic is inspired by gathering spaces common to those neighborhoods, from open-air markets to religious centers. “It is really important for me that architecture not just includes people who are generally excluded from the discipline or from the profession,” Vally says, “but also draws on the workings of other places and the intelligences in those spaces.”

A slice of London that inspired the design forms of the pavilion. Image courtesy Sumayya Vally.
Serpentine Pavilion 2020/2021 designed by Counterspace, Design Render, Exterior View © Counterspace

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