The 2018 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo, was unveiled today in London’s Hyde Park. Escobedo’s design, which fuses elements typical to Mexican architecture with local London references, features a courtyard enclosed by two rectangular volumes constructed from cement roof tiles. These tiles are stacked to form a celosia, a type of wall common to Mexican architecture which is permeable, allowing ventilation and views to the other side.
The courtyard of the pavilion is oriented exactly along the North-South, a reference to the Prime Meridian, which runs through Greenwich a number of miles to the East of the pavilion. Inside the courtyard, a shallow water pool and the curving, mirrored roof element reflect light, emphasizing the changes in light and shadow throughout the day.
“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,” explained Escobedo. “For the 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.”
Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director described the design as “a living timepiece in the park, powered by light and the Prime Meridian line.” He added “in its beautiful harmony of Mexican and British influences, it promises to be a space of reflection and encounter.” Escobedo is the youngest architect yet to participate in the Serpentine Pavilion commission, which has been hosted every year since 2000. Recent designers of the pavilion include Diébédo Francis Kéré, Bjarke Ingels, SelgasCano, and Smiljan Radic.
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