Serpentine Pavilion 2018 review – steel, shade and a paddling pool

Kensington Gardens, London
Only the second solo woman and the youngest architect to win the annual commission, Mexico’s Frida Escobedo has made a rough, tough backdrop for summer frolics

A dark wattle fence appears to ring the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, as if the tasteful construction hoarding of this year’s summer pavilion has yet to be removed. As you walk closer, the woven walls turn out to be made from stacks of cement roofing tiles, threaded on to steel poles, forming a series of translucent screens that envelop a concrete patio. Step inside and the space unfolds beneath a drooping mirror-polished roof, creating an intriguing cave of reflections washed with dappled light and the glistening puddles of wet footprints.

Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has pre-empted the treacherous English summer by providing a shallow pool of water inside her cool courtyard, ensuring that enthusiastic visitors will leave with soggy socks. At the press preview, a few nervously tiptoed into the water, as if trespassing on the pristine reflecting pool of a luxury block of flats. When the space is unleashed to the public this weekend, hopefully many more will go for a paddle to bring this serene, elemental space to life – and be treated to a refreshing footbath in the process.

Continue reading...