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Conceived as a platform for shared emotional and spiritual experience, the 21st Serpentine

Pavillion is designed by Theaster Gates in collaboration with Adjaye Associates and is a place

where the artist's hand and sensitivity are clearly distinguishable.

It is a space where Gates reflects on the "power of sound and music as a healing mechanism

and emotional force that allows people to enter a space of deep reflection and / or deep

participation" and a place of stillness and silence immersed in the frenzy of the urban


Its title, Black Chapel, suggests the transcendental atmosphere that characterises the

architectural experience designed. That is explicitly inspired by the Rothko Chapel, to which the

pictorial cycle created by the artist for this location, directly refers, using the craft techniques

taught to him by his father.

From the outside, it is a 10 metres tall black cylindrical volume made of sustainably-sourced

black timber, while inside is a spacious room with wraparound benches and light that penetrates

from an oculus above, recreating an environment similar to a sanctuary.

Its cylindrical design pays homage to British craftsmanship and manufacturing reminiscent of

the bottle ovens from Stroke on Trent, but at the same time alludes to West American beehive

ovens and traditional African building structures. The oculus, the only source of light for the

structure, obviously refers to the Pantheon and facilitates the dialogue of the structure with time

and the surrounding environment.

The structure is fully demountable and reusable, to minimise its carbon footprint and

environmental impact.

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