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London | The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 designed by Frida Escobedo

By FEDERICA LUSIARDI - June 11, 2018

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Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has been commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2018.  Born in Mexico City, in 1979, Escobedo is the 18th and youngest architect yet to accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion on the Serpentine Gallery lawn in Kensington Gardens. This commission, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has presented the first UK structures of some of the biggest names in international architecture.

Escobedo’s Pavilion is an enclosed courtyard comprised of two rectangular volumes positioned at an angle. While the outer walls are aligned with the Serpentine Gallery’s eastern façade, the axis of the internal courtyard are aligned directly to the north. Internal courtyards are a common feature of Mexican domestic architecture, and 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 are used in the Pavilion’s construction, chosen for their dark colours and textured surfaces.

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above and cover image: Serpentine Pavilion 2018, designed by Frida Escobedo, Serpentine Gallery, London (15 June – 7 October 2018) © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Photography © 2018 Iwan Baan

A celosia – a traditional breeze wall common to Mexican architecture – is 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  emphasise the movement of light and shadow inside the Pavilion over the course of the day. The underside of the canopy is 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 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. Her designs have featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012 and 2014), the Lisbon Architecture Triennale (2013), and in San Francisco, London and New York. Recent projects include Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and social housing projects in Guerrero and Saltillo, Mexico. She lectures nationally and internationally, and has won multiple awards and accolades.

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Frida Escobedo, Photography: Cuauhtemoc García 

Sponsored by Goldman Sachs The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 will once again be a platform for Park Nights, the Serpentine’s annual programme of experimental and interdisciplinary evenings on selected Fridays. Practitioners in the fields of art, architecture, music, film, theory and dance will be commissioned to create new, site-specific works in response to Escobedo’s design, offering unique ways of experiencing architecture and performance, sponsored by COS.

The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 will be open from 15 June every day from 10am to 6pm.



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