UJ duo commissioned to design the prestigious 2020 Serpentine Pavilion in London

A University of Johannesburg (UJ) Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) duo, Sumayya Vally and Sarah de Villiers, together with Amina Kaskar, become the youngest ever all-woman team commissioned to design the Serpentine pavilion.

The 20-year-old Serpentine is one of the most prestigious commissions in the architecture world. The commission, to create an experimental temporary structure in London’s Kensington Gardens, is one of the most prestigious architectural events of the year.

The Serpentine Galleries announced that 2020’s architects would be the South African studio Counterspace, which is led by Vally and De Villiers, both lecturers at UJ, and Kaskar from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). All three will be 30 years old in 2020.

Much of their work emerges from research and interdisciplinary arts-based projects, undertaking predominantly architectural projects, community engagement, exhibition and installation conceptualisation and urban research and design.

Counterspace said their idea was for the pavilion to be based on and were inspired by places where people gather across London, particularly migrant and other peripheral communities.

Vally pointed out that the team’s design will include elements of recycled construction and demolition waste. “We aim to bring an African perspective, an international perspective, whilst working with locations and communities in London.”

The Serpentine pavilion 2020 will be open 11 June-11 October.


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