The Serpentine Pavilion 2014 continues a history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies that were popular from the late sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century.
In general, follies appear as ruins or have been worn away by time, displaying an extravagant, surprising and often archaic form. These characteristics artificially dissolve the temporal and physical limits of the constructions into their natural surroundings. The 2014 Pavilion takes these principals and applies them using a contemporary architectural language.
The unusual shape and sensual qualities of the Pavilion have a strong physical impact on the visitor, especially juxtaposed with the classical architecture of the Serpentine Gallery. From the outside, visitors see a fragile shell in the shape of a hoop suspended on large quarry stones. Appearing as if they had always been part of the landscape, these stones are used as supports, giving the Pavilion both a physical weight and an outer structure characterised by lightness and fragility. The shell, which is white, translucent and made of fibreglass, contains an interior that is organised around an empty patio at ground level, creating the sensation that the entire volume is floating. The simultaneously enclosed and open volumes of the structure explore the relationship between the surrounding Kensington Gardens and the interior of the Pavilion. The floor is grey wooden decking, as if the interior were a terrace rather than a protected interior space.
At night, the semi-transparency of the shell, together with a soft amber-tinted light, draws the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.
The Pavilion is a development of some of my earlier projects, especially the papier-mâché model for The Castle of the Selfish Giant (2010), based on the Oscar Wilde story, and the Mestizo Restaurant, Santiago (2005–07).
Smiljan Radić, February 2014
Smiljan Radić is the fourteenth architect to accept the Serpentine’s 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.
Occupying a footprint of some 541 square metres on the lawn of the
Serpentine Gallery, Radić’s plans depict a semi-translucent, cylindrical
structure, resting on large quarry stones. Radi
’s Pavilion has its roots in his
earlier work, particularly the studio model for The Castle of the Selfish Giant,
inspired by the Oscar Wilde story, and the Restaurant Mestizo, part of which is
supported by large boulders. Designed 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.
On Friday nights, between July and September, the Pavilion will become the
stage for the Serpentine’s Park Nights series, sponsored by COS: eight site-￼specific events bring together art, poetry, music, film, literature and theory
￼and include three new commissions by emerging artists Lina Lapelyte,
￼Hannah Perry and Heather Phillipson.
has completed the majority of his structures in Chile. His
commissions range from public buildings, such as the Civic Neighbourhoods,
Concepción, Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago, Restaurant Mestizo,
Santiago, and the Vik Winery, Millahue, and domestic buildings, such as Copper
House 2, Talca, Pite House, Papudo, and the House for the Poem of the Right
Angle, Vilches, to small and seemingly fragile buildings, such as the Extension
to Charcoal Burner's House, Santa Rosa, The Wardrobe and the Mattress, Tokyo,
Japan, and The Bus Stop Commission, Kumbranch, Austria.
Julia Peyton-Jones, with
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Julie Burnell, with
Jochen Volz, with
Engineering, Technical Design and Cost Management
David Glover, with
Brian Graham, AECOM
Barnaby Collins, with
Katie Smith, DP9
Lord Palumbo, Chairman Emeritus, Serpentine Board of Trustees
Colin Buttery, Director of Parks, The Royal Parks
Andy Williams, Parks Superintendent, The Royal Parks
Rosemarie MacQueen and Kate Green, Westminster City Council Planning Office
Hassan Lashkariani, Westminster City Council District Surveyor’s Office (Building Control)
Jenny Wilson, Westminster City Council (Licensing Authority)
London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority
London Region, English Heritage
Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens