Chilean architect Smiljan Radić who was named as the designer of 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion unveiled his translucent and bulbous Serpentine Gallery Pavilion at Kensington Gardens in London. Raised up from the ground over a series of rugged quarry stones, the cylindrical pavilion is constructed from a paper-thin layer of white fibreglass, reminiscent of papier mache wrapped around a balloon.
“I want to bring back a sense of primitive space to the tradition of the folly in the park,” said Radic, speaking from his studio in Santiago. “I like fragile constructions that have nothing to do with the history of architecture – like road-side fruit stalls, travelling circus tents and the simple shelters people build for themselves with whatever materials are to hand.”
Radić designed the pavilion using a series of models put together from masking tape. His intention was for the structure to feature the same handmade qualities, on a grander scale.
Radić’s Pavilion has its roots in his earlier work, particularly The Castle of the Selfish Giant, inspired by the Oscar Wilde story, and the Restaurant Mestizo, part of which is supported by large boulders. Design as a flexible, multi-purpose social space with a café sited inside, the Pavilion will entice visitors to enter and interact with it in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in the Park.
Smiljan Radić a 48 year old architect who before now has built little outside of his native Chile – will be one of the youngest and least-known architects selected by the Serpentine Gallery in the 14-year history of the programme.
“What is most captivating about Radić’s heroically peculiar pavilion is the way that it seems to stand out of time,” wrote critic Ellis Woodman in the Independent. While Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright branded it the “weirdest structure yet to have graced the west London lawn” and said it “looks like the site of a momentous pagan ritual”
Last year’s pavilion was designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and comprised a cloud-like structure made from a lattice of steel poles. Other past commissions include Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA and Peter Zumthor.
Radić is the fourteenth architect to have accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion outside the entrance to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. The commission is one of the most anticipated events in the cultural calendar, and has become one of London’s leading summer attractions since launching in 2000.
Smiljan Radić’s design follows:
- Sou Fujimoto’s cloud-like structure – 2013
- Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei – 2012
- Peter Zumthor – 2011
- Jean Nouvel – 2010
- Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA – 2009
- Frank Gehry – 2008
- Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen – 2007
- Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup – 2006
- Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup – 2005
- MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un-realised); Oscar Niemeyer – 2003
- Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond – with Arup – 2002
- Daniel Libeskind with Arup – 2001
- Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural Pavillion in 2000.
Below is the photo gallery of 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Smiljan Radic