Chilean architect Smilijan Radic, selected to design this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, has unveiled a structure resembling a futuristic shell.
Radic will be the 14th architect to design the temporary pavilion, which sits outside the entrance to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens each summer.
Spanning 350 square metres, the shell is a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure constructed from white fibreglass.
The 48-year-old designer – one of the youngest to be commissioned for the project – has created the pavilion to reflect two of his earlier works: The Castle of the Selfish Giant, inspired by the Oscar Wilde story, and the Restaurant Mestizo – part of which is supported by large granite boulders.
“The Serpentine 2014 Pavilion is part of the history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies, which were hugely popular from the end of the 16th century to the start of the 19th,” said Radic in a statement. “Externally, the visitor will see a fragile shell suspended on large quarry stones. This shell, white, translucent and made of fibreglass, will house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating.”
“At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.”
AECOM has once again been commissioned to provide the engineering and technical services behind the structure and will ensure the pavilion is suited to hosting events and can act as a stage for selected weekend evenings. It will also be a multi-purpose and flexible space designed to encourage be a social with a café inside.
The Serpentine Pavilion has been recognised as a highlight on the European calendar with renowned architects including Zaha Hadid (2000), the late Oscar Niemeyer (2003), Olafur Elisasson (2007) and Frank Gehry (2008) among those selected to design it in the past. The last two years have seen emerging architects chosen as the designers.
In 2013, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto was the youngest architect to ever be commissioned for the Serpentine Gallery at 41 years of age.
Fujimoto used 20-millimetre white steel poles applied in an intricate latticework pattern to create the cloud-like structure. His design connected architecture and nature, aesthetically complementing its surrounding garden landscape.
Fujimoto’s Pavilion was visited by almost 200,000 people and was one of the most visited Pavilions to date.
Radic’s Pavilion opens June 26, 2014 for a period of four months.