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Serpentine Pavilion 2018

28th Mar 2018

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Frida Escobedo (b. 1979, Mexico City) is the 18th architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion on the Serpentine lawn. She is also the youngest architect to design a Serpentine Pavilion, and the first solo woman to tackle the task since the late Zaha Hadid's inaugural commission in 2000. Escobedo’s Serpentine Pavilion 2018 will be a living timepiece in the park, promising to be a place of deep reflection and dynamic encounter. Harnessing a subtle interplay of light, water and geometry, her atmospheric courtyard-based design draws on both the domestic architecture of Mexico and British materials and history, specifically the Prime Meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

The architect’s prize-winning work in urban reactivation ranges from housing and community centres to hotels and galleries. In 2006, she founded her practice in Mexico City, with significant national projects including the Librería del Fondo Octavio Paz and an extension of La Tallera Siqueiros gallery in Cuernavaca.

Escobedo’s Pavilion will take the form of an enclosed courtyard, comprised of two rectangular volumes positioned at an angle. While the outer walls will be aligned with the Serpentine Gallery’s eastern façade, the axis of the internal courtyard will align directly to the north. Internal courtyards are a common feature of Mexican domestic architecture, while the Pavilion’s pivoted axis refers to the Prime Meridian, which was established in 1851 at Greenwich and became the global standard marker of time and geographical distance.

British-made materials will be used in the Pavilion’s construction, chosen for their dark colours and textured surfaces. A celosia – a traditional breeze wall common to Mexican architecture – will here be composed of a lattice of cement roof tiles that diffuse the view out into the park, transforming it into a vibrant blur of greens and blues. Two reflecting elements will emphasise the movement of light and shadow inside the Pavilion over the course of the day. The curved underside of the canopy will be clad with mirrored panels, and a triangular pool cast into the Pavilion floor will trace its boundary directly beneath the edge of the roof, along the north axis of the Meridian. As the sun moves across the sky, reflected and refracted by these features, visitors may feel a heightened awareness of time spent in play, improvisation and contemplation over the summer months.

Escobedo’s design enhances the Serpentine Pavilion’s reputation as a space of encounter and shared experience, following Francis Kéré’s acclaimed 2017 Pavilion, a bright and airy structure that was inspired by the tree at the heart of his hometown in Burkina Faso and visited by more than 200,000 people.

“My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms. For the Serpentine Pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.” – Frida Escobedo

The temporary structure will be revealed 15 June in Kensington Gardens, and remain until 7 October 2018.

The Serpentine Galleries:

Twitter: @SerpentineUK
Instagram: @serpentineuk
Facebook: @serpentinegalleries

Frida Escobedo:

Twitter: @fridaescobedo
Instagram: @fridaescobedo

Image credits top to bottom:
Serpentine Pavilion 2018 Designed by Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Design Rendering, Interior View © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Renderings by Atmósfera
Frida Escobedo, Photography: Cuauhtemoc García
Serpentine Pavilion 2018 Designed by Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Design Rendering, Interior View © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Renderings by Atmósfera
Serpentine Pavilion 2018, Designed by Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Conceptual Drawing, © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura
Frida Escobedo, La Tallera, 2012, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Photography: Rafael Gamo
Frida Escobedo, El Eco Pavilion, 2010, Mexico City, Photography: Rafael Gamo
Frida Escobedo, La Tallera, 2012, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Photography: Rafael Gamo