Amazing Architecture: London’s 2015 Serpentine Pavillion

published Sep 12, 2015
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(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

My parents were in town the other week, so on a particularly beautiful September Sunday, my mum and I headed to Hyde Park to visit this year’s Serpentine Pavilion. The yearly structure is an event in the architecture world, as well as in the London cultural scene. (I previously wrote about London’s 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion and, I must say, it’s still my favorite one.)

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Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a temporary pavilion to be erected on its lawn from an up-and-coming architect who hasn’t yet had a building yet constructed in the UK. Past winners of the coveted commission include Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind. The structure, which is free to visit and usually houses a café, stands for only four months every summer.

This year’s colorful, interactive space was designed by Spanish studio
SelgasCano, headed by José Selgas and Lucía Cano. Constructed of various layers of luminous, colored plastic on a metal frame, the X-shaped design has an opening at each end with multiple passages between them, creating a multitude of ways for viewers to experience the space. The architects have said that inspiration came from the way people move through London itself: seemingly chaotic, but structured. From the Serpentine website:

We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials.” — SelgasCano

I loved the way the colors reflected on every surface, even if the plastic did make it feel like being inside a greenhouse on the unseasonably warm London day (hey, I’m not complaining!). I also liked how the various entrances, “windows”, and transparent corridors, created by simple plastic tape, afforded unique views both inwards and outwards. Judging from the enthusiastic photo-taking all around me and all the kids playing hide-and-seek in the space, others were loving it too.

The pavilion will be dismantled on October 18, so if you’re in London before then, be sure to check it out.