It's a nice idea, The Serpentine Pavilions:
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission was conceived...in 2000. It is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and individuals. It is unique worldwide and presents the work of an international architect or design team who, at the time of the Serpentine Gallery's invitation, has not completed a building in England....Each Pavilion is sited on the Gallery’s lawn for three months and the immediacy of the process - a maximum of six months from invitation to completion - provides a peerless model for commissioning architecture.
And the examples of the work chosen illustrate (to me) that startchitecture is easy because it has no standards i.e. there is no principle by which to judge it. That allows the art-fascists to tell us what is au courant and no one can dispute it because it's not architecture, where it's acceptable for there to be a component of practicality — but it is art where there are no standards.
Here's a Gallery of recent Serpentine Pavilions. They are of course much smaller than the grand works of starchitecture but they contain the same forumla except on the scale of a hut.
Do you notice the same formula that I do in the photos in the gallery? Pick a few simple geometric shapes and then combine, contort, bend, slice and/or ortherwise arrange them in an unusual manner. That's starchitecture.
Look at any of the works by our illustrious architectural leaders and you can see that they have simply taken a few simple geometric shapes and then combined, contorted, bent, sliced and/or ortherwise arranged them in an unusual manner. And hang the floor plan and room arrangement.
Now don't get me wrong; in fact I like some of those little pavilions; they are fun and might even be functional for their secondary purpose of hosting "a special programme of film screenings, architectural talks, literarture readings and other events as well as a cafe throughout the day."
But they are ultimately formulaic and by displaying them as unique works of art, they reinforce the notion that architecture is primarily about art. And I can't see that viewing architecture as art (in the way that the Serpentine seems to) "provides a peerless model for commissioning architecture," as the Serpentine claims. It provides merely a sales forum for starchitects.
The hard part of starchitecture is not the design but the marketing; Rem et all would have done well in Detroit or selling Pepsi. Better yet, black turtlenecks.
Of course I haven't been to the Serpentine so maybe I have it all wrong.