Serpentine Pavilion 2015

By Oliver Burns

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July 16, 2015|Architecture

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  • his year’s Serpentine Pavilion marks the 15th anniversary of the Pavilion Commission. First established in 2000 with a structure designed by Zaha Hadid, the annual architectural commission has since grown widely popular with the British public. The commission is based on a six-month conception to completion challenge and this original concept has not wavered since its beginnings. With a very modest approach, architects are set a stringent budget based on the cost of building a tented structure. This ideal has helped to engage with the general public and has thus become widely accepted. The 15th anniversary pavilion is designed by Spanish architects Selgascano. Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano established Selgascano in Madrid, Spain in 1988, having both studied architecture here and their work is known for its use of playful and inexpensive components, taking materials such as extruded plastic and corrugated sheeting and implementing these into energetic immersive spaces.        
Image via Oliver Burns

The pavilion is no exception made from a cage of steel layered with stretched ETFE plastic. Selgascano also hopes for the pavilion to have a second life in another location and so was careful to create a structure that could be dismantled and erected elsewhere, an ecological approach which undulates the nature of the commission.

Image via Oliver Burns

With the pavilion this year being a celebration of 15 years, Selgascano wanted a place to celebrate, dance and enjoy the ‘Park Nights’ events that will be held at the Serpentine over the coming months.

The stark white surface on which visitors move around the space, is the dance floor in which they explore the pavilion. Selgascano also explores the relationship between the urban structure and the nature of Kensington gardens, with certain corners stretching out towards the trees and landmarks of the gardens beyond.

Image via Oliver Burns

This exploration of nature extends to how people interact around the city of London; Selgascano likens the movement of individuals through the pavilion to the controlled chaos of the underground. We collide daily in a haphazard yet carefully constructed map of London, which is reiterated in the maze like structure of the Pavilion.

After visiting the Pavilion, it is clear to see that the celebration of the anniversary lives through the energy of the structure. When the sun shines through the transparent plastic, an iridescent glow emulates a Spanish fiesta with a warm glow and colourful consideration.

Written by LU


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