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Serpentine Pavilion 2018, designed by Frida Escobedo
Serpentine Pavilion 2018, designed by Frida Escobedo | © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Photo: © 2018 Iwan Baan
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Mexican Architect Frida Escobedo Designs Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 12 June 2018
Frida Escobedo is the youngest architect to design the temporary pavilion on the Serpentine Gallery lawn in London’s Kensington Gardens.

Following in the footsteps of Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor and last year’s architect Francis Kéré, Escobedo is the 18th architect charged with the annual prestigious commission.

Echoing a variety of traditions in Mexican architecture including internal courtyards and perforated breeze walls, known as a ‘celosia’, the young architect has devised a contemplative space that incorporates light, water and the evolution of time. The perfect hangout for those balmy summer days and nights.

Detail view of the celosia – traditional breeze wall in Frida Escobedo’s Serpentine Pavilion 2018 | © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Photo: © 2018 Iwan Baan

Specifically referencing the Prime Meridian (a line of longitude at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich), Escobedo’s pavilion is made from two angled rectangle forms. Constructed using British-made cement roof tiles , the lattice formation mimics a ‘celosia’.

The dark and textured surfaces of the tiles create a dappled vista of the surrounding park. Within the courtyard, an inlaid triangular pool will track the north axis of the Meridian and the canopy will be lined with mirrored panels.

The enclosed courtyard in Frida Escobedo’s Serpentine Pavilion 2018 | © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Photo: © 2018 Iwan Baan

‘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,’ said Frida Escobedo of her commission.

‘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 | Photo: Ana Hop

Chosen by Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel (who were additionally advised by David Adjaye and Richard Rogers), Escobedo’s award-winning work – such as social housing projects in Guerrero and Saltillo, Mexico, as well as her innovative extension of La Tallera Siqueiros gallery in Cuernavaca – makes her the ideal architect to take on this celebrated architectural commission.

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Frida Escobedo, La Tallera (Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico), 2012 | Photo: Rafael Gamo

Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery have invited a number of high-profile architects to transform the lawn outside the former teahouse with a communal space that engages with the rural surroundings of the royal park within an urban context.

But in recent years, the commission has become a platform to showcase the emerging talents in the field of contemporary architecture practices not necessarily widely-known in the UK.

Serpentine Pavilion 2018 designed by Frida Escobedo is at Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA from June 15 to October 7, 2018.

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