This year’s Serpentine Pavilion, designed by emerging Mexican star Frida Escobedo was unveiled to the press this morning 11 June 2018. The 38-year-old architect is the youngest ever designer to create the temporary showcase structure in Kensington Gardens.
“The building is a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.” – Frida Escobedo
Frida Escobedo is celebrated for dynamic projects that reactivate urban space has been commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2018. Harnessing a subtle interplay of light, water and geometry, her atmospheric courtyard-based design draws on both the domestic architecture of Mexico and British materials and history, specifically the Prime Meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich. She also noteably won the Architectural Review’s Emerging Architecture award in 2016.
Escobedo was inspired by the meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Her proposal was described as an ‘atmospheric, courtyard-based’ structure, which harnesses a subtle interplay of light, water and geometry’.
All British-made materials were used in the Pavilion’s construction, chosen for their dark colours and textured surfaces. A celosia – a traditional breeze wall common to Mexican architecture – will here be 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 will emphasise the movement of light and shadow inside the Pavilion over the course of the day. The curved underside of the canopy will be 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.
Frida Escobedo (b. 1979, Mexico City) founded her practice in 2006, after four years as co-director of the architectural firm Perro Rojo. Her award-winning work has focused mainly on reactivating urban spaces that are considered to be residual or forgotten. In 2004 she was awarded the Scholarship for Young Creators by the National Fund for Arts and Culture (FONCA) and in 2008 she was selected by Herzog & de Meuron as one of the architectural studios to participate in the Ordos 100 Project in Inner Mongolia, China. In 2009, she was a winner of the Young Architects Forum, organised by the Architectural League of New York. In 2013, she was selected as one of the three finalists for the Architecture programme at the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and was nominated for the Arc Vision Prize for Women and the Iakov Chernikhov Prize. In 2014, she was selected as a finalist for the Designs of the Year at the Design Museum in London and was nominated for the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize of the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2014, she won the Ibero-American Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism Prize (IX BIAU) in Rosario, Argentina. In 2017, she received the Emerging Voices Award by the Architectural League of New York.