Just eight months after being released from house arrest in his native China, acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei is to work with Swiss architecture practice Herzog & de Meuron on the design of this year's summer pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London.
Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron - who together designed Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium in 2008 (pictured below) - will create the galley's 12th annual summer pavilion, a temporary structure in its grounds at Kensington Gardens, west London.
According to the gallery, this year's pavilion will take visitors beneath the Serpentine's lawn and its design will be representative of the 11 previous pavilions, temporary structures designed by renowned architects including Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvele.
The structure will have a flat roof raised above a dug out section of the gallery's lawn and supported by 12 columns - eleven for each of the previous galleries and a 12th representing this one. With the roof just 1.5 metres above ground level, it will be the gallery's lowest pavilion yet.
The Gallery's director, Julia Peyton-Jones, and co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist, said: 'It is a great honour to be working with Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. We are delighted that our annual commission will bring this unique architectural collaboration to Europe to mark the continuity between the Beijing 2008 and the London 2012 Games.'
A globally renowned artist, Ai Weiwei won global acclaim for a 2010 work in which he filled the turbine hall of London's Tate Modern gallery with 100 million ceramic sunflower seeds. But last April he was arrested and held without charge in China for alleged tax evasion.
Each year the Serpentine Gallery asks an architect or designer to create a temporary pavilion in its grounds. The project is usually offered to an architect who has never previously completed a building in the UK before.