Mexican architect Frida Escobedo to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2018
Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has been chosen to design the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, a prestigious annual commission by London-based Serpentine Galleries.
Known for her impactful work in public spaces, Escobedo, 38, has become the youngest and the 18th architect to design the pavilion. She has also earned the distinction of being the first solo female architect to have taken on the project since its inauguration in 2000 by the late celebrated architect Zaha Hadid.
Her design features an enclosed courtyard created by two rectangular blocks positioned at an angle, and activates an interplay of light and water. This references celosia – part of vernacular Mexican architecture, which features permeable walls, but executed using British-sourced materials and also paying a nod to its London surroundings. The perforated surface will allow cross ventilation, while the underside of the curved, mirrored panels will reflect varied effects of the structure and the pool underneath. The changing position of the sun will create different effects. The pavilion will be designed as a timepiece – the courtyard aligns with the north-south axis, a reference to the Prime Meridian located in Greenwich.
Escobedo says: “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.”
The pavilion will be open to the public from June 15 to October 7, 2018 in London’s Kensington Gardens, close to Hyde Park. It will host a cafe, as well as a series of art, architecture, music, film and dance events.
Frida Escobedo photo by Chicago Architecture Biennial