Mexican architect, Frida Escobedo, has been commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion for 2018. On the edge of Kensington Gardens within Hyde Park, the Serpentine Pavilion draws a large crowd from London and has a huge online following. It is a high-profile platform for any architect; bringing their work to the public for them to experience. Over the last few years, with the prevalence of social media platforms (particularly Instagram), cultural programming has begun to be influenced by the sharable aesthetics of an experience. The impact of the design upon the audience’s physical experience must be considered alongside the experiences of those far away, on their phones.
The commission of the pavilion attempts to highlight emerging talent within architecture, choosing designs that capture the unique essence of an architect and their vision. Evident in Escobedo’s design is the influence of both Mexican and British materials and architectural history. The 2018 pavilion design plays with light and water, within a geometric courtyard. Courtyards are a common feature of Mexican architecture as well as the breeze wall (a celosia), which will be composed of cement roof tiles positioned to create a lattice. The dark colours of the British-made materials contrast with the vibrant blues and greens seen from within the pavilion when looking out to the natural surroundings. The curved underside of the canopy overhead and the triangular pool are both reflective surfaces that will emphasise the movement of light and shadow inside the structure.
For the Serpentine Gallery, the pavilion is a stage, or backdrop, for a programme of experimental and interdisciplinary events. The design of the pavilion acts as the stimulus for new, site-specific work that is commissioned from an array of artists working in music, film, dance and other art practices. The pavilion will be open to the public from June to October this year. In the meantime, look back at the past designs here.
Images: Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura from Serpentine Galleries. Rendering by Atmósfera