London’s Serpentine Gallery has announced Mexican architect Frida Escobedo as the designer for the 2018 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in Hyde Park. Escobedo, known for her work in activating public spaces, will be the youngest architect to have participated in the Serpentine Pavilion program since it began in 2000. Her design features an enclosed courtyard created by two rectangular volumes positioned at an angle. With its interplay of light and water, the design is intended to evoke the sensation of Mexican domestic architecture, while using British materials and containing references to its London context.
The pavilion will be constructed of cement roof tiles—chosen for their texture and dark color—stacked to form a celosia, a form of permeable wall common in Mexico. While the pavilion’s courtyard will feature a triangular pool, the underside of the structure’s roof will also feature mirrored panels, creating a pair of reflective surfaces which create varied effects due to the changing position of the sun throughout the day. The courtyard is arranged to align directly with the north-south axis, a reference to the Prime Meridian located a few miles to the east in Greenwich, a confirmation of the pavilion’s intent as a “timepiece.”
“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,” explained 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.”