A global open-call for new forms of architecture
in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture
and Sir David Adjaye, OBE

Applicants are invited to propose imaginary city spaces and speculations on the built environment to be developed and experienced in augmented reality (AR) on site at the Serpentine Galleries in Summer 2019.


Commissions will be selected by

Virgil Abloh

Artist & Designer

Sir David Adjaye, OBE

Architect and Trustee of the Serpentine Galleries

Yonca Dervişoğlu

VP Marketing, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Google

Amira Gad

Curator, Exhibitions & Architecture, Serpentine Galleries

Ivaylo Getov

Technical Director, Serpentine Augmented Architecture

Freya Murray

Creative Lead, Google Arts & Culture Lab

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries

Yana Peel

CEO, Serpentine Galleries

Amit Sood

Director, Google Arts & Culture

Ben Vickers

Chief Technology Officer, Serpentine Galleries

Kay Watson

Digital Curator, Serpentine Galleries

Jon Wiley

Director, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Google

Greg Williams

Editor-in-Chief, WIRED UK

An emerging tool and medium, conversations surrounding AR today have the opportunity to shape its purpose tomorrow. We are seeking proposals that embrace this technology, considering how AR could transform our spatial, social and structural experience of the cities in which we live.

Serpentine Augmented Architecture builds on the legacy of the annual Serpentine Pavilion commission by connecting the Serpentine’s expertise in commissioning new architecture with its work in the field of advanced technologies.




Deadline for submissions
25.02.19 at 10:00AM GMT

The reality of the city today is a complex layering of topologies where our physical and digital worlds collide. The digital has mechanised the architecture of the city to create an increasingly elaborate relationship between the built environment, networked technologies and human experience. Augmented reality presents a significant moment within architectural practice; one that radically challenges our understanding of city spaces and the environment by creating a highly visible interface between the physical and digital (infra)structures that surround us.

We invite you to consider the role and utility of AR within this complex topography of the city; as a digital layer that offers new opportunities for design, visualisation and experience. Proposals should explore how AR can be used to develop, transform and enact new ideas about how our cities and public spaces are designed.

We're looking for ideas that respond to each of these three key provocations.
How does your proposal
↳ Reinvent the City?

Our urban environment is an expression of human needs and desires, situated within complex ecosystems. We want you to take the opportunity to consider how the city can be reinvented to produce new realities through AR. Speculations could play out through buildings, objects, games or interactions.




How does your proposal
↳ Rethink Spatiality?

↳ AR challenges many of the constraints that have helped shape the way our cities look and function. In AR, ideas no longer need to be bound by space, time or even gravity. Your proposal should be driven by a reconsideration of these conditions in an environment that is non-physical.




How does your proposal
↳ Reactivate the Site?

The Serpentine is situated in a park filled with natural life and over 12 million visitors each year, in a global city: how you augment this context is important. Your project should have a degree of site-specificity within it.




Finally, we want to highlight that the rules of augmented reality have not yet been defined. We’re particularly excited to see concepts that embrace social interaction, collective experience and the unknown.

Proposals can be designed to react or evolve over time through an engagement with generative or real world variables such as public interaction with your piece or external data feeds.

Site and Technical Considerations:
The Augmented Architecture commission will be situated in the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery alongside the Serpentine Pavilion 2019. Taking these dimensions into consideration, your proposal should also consider the physical environment within which the AR structure exists, including the use of mobile devices in viewing the structure.

For further information and resources to complete your application click here.




Guidelines for applicants
Apply now

We encourage applications from individuals, studios and collectives from across a range of fields and skills at any career stage - architects, designers, games developers, technologists and artists are all encouraged to apply. You will not be expected to realise the project independently - a technical and curatorial team will provide support to your competencies made up of key mentors, a production team, the Serpentine Galleries and Google Arts & Culture. This project involves working with emerging technologies, so participants should be prepared to work collaboratively and flexibly during the development process to the timeline outlined below.


How to apply
Global Open Call
→ Deadline 25 February 2019, 10AM GMT


To apply, you must complete the three steps below. Once you are ready to submit follow the Apply link. Applications that do not adhere to these guidelines will not be considered.

Section 1 → About you

In this section you will be asked for information including your name, contact details, technical skills.

Section 2 → Your Written Proposal

Firstly, you will be asked to submit a written explanation of your idea (350 words max, in English).
     Secondly, you will be asked to briefly explain how your concept responds to each of the three key provocations outlined in the brief:
     ↳ How does your proposal Reinvent the City? (100 words max).
     ↳ How does your proposal Rethink Spatiality? (100 words max).
     ↳ How does your proposal Reactivate the Site? (100 words max).

Section 3 → Supporting Media

Please upload either: Up to two pages of images that bring to life your concept (max 10mb and 4 images per page) or a link to a short film (30 secs max) showing visualisations of your idea.
     ↳ Image guidelines: Please upload a maximum of 2 pages, max 4 images per page, total file size no more than 10mb. Images will not be judged on their production values. Hand-drawn sketches are just as valid as 3D renders. The most important thing is that your idea is communicated clearly. Please only use essential annotations on your images.
     ↳ Film guidelines: Should be uploaded to a site of your choice with a link provided (YouTube or Vimeo) and should be no longer than 30 seconds. Please do not forget to provide us with a password if required. Films will not be judged on their production values. Your film is there to communicate your visual ideas. Please do not use it to repeat themes communicated in the written section.

Section 4 → Your Portfolio

Please provide a link to a relevant PDF portfolio of your work or a single web page.
Your PDF portfolio should be no more than 5 pages and 10mb in size.


Please note, applications cannot be saved and returned to.

Your proposal will be judged on the below criteria.
     ↳ Does the proposal radically challenge our understanding of city spaces and environment through the use of AR?
     ↳ Your overall idea or concept and how it responds to the three key provocations in the brief: Reinventing the City, Rethinking Spatiality and Reactivating the Site?
     ↳ Your portfolio




Next Steps


All applicants will be contacted via email by the 8th March 2019.

A selection of open call proposals will be shortlisted and invited for further development with guidance from mentors in technology and architecture. A brief outlining second stage creative development, production approach and budget will be provided with a fee of £800 to aid the development of successful proposals. If shortlisted you will be given 2.5 weeks (1-18 March) to develop and submit your second stage proposal.

One shortlisted project will then be selected by the committee and invited to realise their commission with technical and curatorial support and mentorship. Working alongside our team, these proposals will be developed to be experienced in augmented reality on site at the Serpentine from July 2019.
 You will also be expected to take part in public events at the Serpentine Galleries to accompany the launch of the commission.

The successful commission will receive a one off fee of £3,000 plus expenses for travel and accommodation. This is a fee and not the production budget.




Technical Statement

Augmented Architecture is an open call submission aimed at creatives from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds and at different points in their career. Therefore, we are not expecting proposals to be thoroughly technically scoped. At the open call stage, we will be looking at your proposal to understand if it, or potentially some version of it, could be within the realms of technical possibility.
     Production of the commissions will be overseen and supported by the Serpentine Galleries and mentors. Depending on the specific needs of the commissioned projects, these industry professionals will provide insight into the challenges of implementation and provide production support where appropriate.
     These teams will work with the individual creators to ensure that all final deliverables meet the project’s technical standards, and will coordinate with each commission to set technical milestones that must be met leading up to the public launch.


If you would like to apply but feel disadvantaged in some way by the above application procedure, alternative provisions and support can be provided. Please contact us before preparing an application by sending an email to: architecture@serpentinegalleries.org

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