Serpentine Is Set to Beat Hirst to Hyde Park Space; Zaha Hadid Will Design

The Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park is close to expanding into a nearby venue, beating rival bidder Damien Hirst, after receiving its largest-ever donation, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The former munitions depot known as the Magazine will be renamed after the donors, whose identity wasn’t disclosed, and renovated by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, the people said. The Royal Parks are expected to announce a decision within a few weeks.

The new, free-of-charge venue in Kensington Gardens will open in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games, and feature an adjacent pavilion used as a social space and restaurant, the people said. The space run by the Serpentine, whose director is Julia Peyton-Jones, also will contain an annual large-scale light installation and regular new commissions, they said.

Hirst was another high-profile candidate for the space. Architect Mike Rundell, who drew up the plans for the bid, was cited in press reports earlier this year as saying that Hirst wanted to show his collection of works by such artists as Bacon, Warhol, Giacometti and Koons in the space as well as make stained-glass windows and bronze gates for it.

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