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London’s Serpentine Pavilion


If you’re lucky enough to be in London or if you are on your way there, be sure to check out the Serpentine Pavilion. From the Serpentine Galleries website: Over the past 15 years the Serpentine Pavilion has become an international site for architectural experimentation, presenting inspirational temporary structures by some of the world’s greatest architects. A much-anticipated landmark in London each summer, the Pavilion is one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world.

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Spanish architects Selgascano designed the 15th Serpentine Pavilion. The award-winning studio, headed by José Selgas and Lucía Cano, is the first Spanish architecture practice to be asked to design the temporary Pavilion on the Serpentine’s lawn in London’s Kensington Gardens. In keeping with the criteria of the scheme, this is the studio’s first new structure in the UK.

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The Pavilion is an amorphous, double-skinned, polygonal structure consisting of panels of a translucent, multi-coloured fluorine-based polymer (ETFE) woven through and wrapped like webbing. Visitors can enter and exit the Pavilion at a number of different points, passing through a ‘secret corridor’ between the outer and inner layer of the structure and into the Pavilion’s brilliant, stained glass-effect interior.

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The architects’ inspiration not only came from the site itself, but from the ways in which people move through London, notably the Underground with its many-layered, chaotic yet structured flow. Selgascano’s design follows Smiljan Radić’s Pavilion in 2014, which was likened by many to a spaceship resting on Neolithic stones. Previous architects include Sou Fujimoto, 2013; Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, 2012; Frank Gehry, 2008; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural Pavilion in 2000.

Guests attending a private view of the Serpentine pavilion 2015. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

As with previous Pavilion commissions, the brief was to design a flexible, multi-purpose social space with a café that is open to all throughout the summer. Run, quick! This installation closes October 18th, 2015.


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