Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has been chosen to design this year’s Serpentine Pavilion being the youngest ever designer to showcase her work in this iconic setting. Escobedo is just 38 years old and the first solo women to do the Serpentine Pavilion since the inaugural design by Zaha Hadid in 2000.
Escobedo’s temporary structure for London’s Kensington Gardens is an enclosed courtyard, with two rectangular volumes positioned at an angle. Its diaphanous lattice walls are inspired by a celosia: a traditional Mexican way of filtering light and air into a house.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE FRIDA ESCOBEDO – the jury’s choice for designing 2018’s Serpentine Pavilion, 15 June through 07 October 2018, Serpentine Gallery, London www.serpentinegalleries.org
‘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,’ explains Escobedo. ‘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.’
Mirrored panels on the underside of the curving canopy reflect the building and a pool of water at the courtyard’s heart. Open from 15 June to 7 October 2018, the pavilion features an interesting aspect: a pivoted axis – a nod to the Prime Meridian, established in 1851 at Greenwich.
Courtyards are a typical trait of Mexican domestic architecture, given a British spin in Kensington Gardens with UK-made building materials, including black steel and cement.
Frida Escobedo is the 18th architect to design a temporary summer pavilion for the Serpentine Galleries’ annual programme, following in the footsteps of Francis Kéré, BIG, Sou Fujimoto and Herzog & de Meuron. The Mexican – who set up her practice in 2006 – is a pavilion veteran, who has built ephemeral structures in Lisbon, Chicago and Stanford. In London she created an Aztec-inspired, mirrored structure in the V&A’s John Madejski Garden in 2015.
Beyond pavilions, Escobedo’s varied body of work includes Mexico City’s Librería del Fondo Octavio Paz and La Tallera, for which she turned the home and studio Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros into a public gallery.