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Frida Escobedo is selected to design the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion

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Frida Escobedo is selected to design the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion. The walls of the pavilion will be made of dark cement tiles and allow air to perforate the building. (Courtesy Frida Escobedo Taller de Arquitectura)
Frida Escobedo is selected to design the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion. The walls of the pavilion will be made of dark cement tiles and allow air to perforate the building. (Courtesy Frida Escobedo Taller de Arquitectura)

Mexico City-based architect Frida Escodebo has been selected to design the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion in London, making her both the youngest architect selected for the commission, as well as the first solo woman to take on the project since Zaha Hadid in 2000.

Frida Escodebo (Courtesy Frida Escobedo Taller de Arquitectura)

Escodebo, who AN profiled last year after her eponymous firm won the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award, has designed a perforated pavilion that draws on the architecture and materials of both Britain and Mexico.

The pavilion is based around a central interior courtyard, a common feature in domestic Mexican architecture, and is made up of two rectangular volumes, one inside the other. The volumes will be angled to reference the Prime Meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich, with the pavilion’s exterior walls aligned to the Serpentine Gallery’s eastern façade, while the interior courtyard will align to the north.

The pavilion’s interior will feature a reflecting pool and overhanging mirrored canopy. (Courtesy Frida Escobedo Taller de Arquitectura)

The walls themselves resemble celosias, a traditional Mexican breeze wall that allows air to pass through, and will be built from dark cement roof tiles, interplaying the light streaming in against the color of the pavilion itself. A curved overhead canopy, clad in mirrored tiles, will dialogue with a triangular reflecting pool below, which will be sunk into the pavilion’s north end. As the sun moves across the sky throughout the summer, visitors will be able to track the shifting of the shadows within and the sunlight’s refraction, as each day should theoretically bring a unique lighting condition.

“The 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,” said Escodebo in a statement. “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.”

Diagram of the pavilion. (Courtesy Frida Escobedo Taller de Arquitectura)

The temporary Serpentine Pavilion has been commissioned by London’s prestigious Serpentine gallery since 2000, and has drawn big names in architecture since its conception. This year, the pavilion will be open to the public from June 15, 2018 through October 7, 2018, and will continue to host Park Nights, the Serpentine Gallery’s experimental and interdisciplinary showings on select Friday nights.

Escodebo, born in 1979, has made a name for herself lately in the exhibition and temporary architecture world, having shown work at both the 2012 and 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, and the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. For the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Escobedo built an interactive, round rocking stage.

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