'Fragile shell' opens on 26 June 2014

Sian
Tuesday 24 Jun 2014

Smiljan Radic unveils Serpentine Pavilion

Each year the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens invites an architect who has never completed a building in the UK to design a temporary pavilion in its grounds for the enjoyment of the public. Today was the official unveiling of Smiljan Radic’s gift to the park: a 514 sq m glass-reinforced plastic creation from one of the least-known architects to ever take up the challenge. Radic worked with engineers AECOM to realise his design.

The Chilean architect was presented with the daunting task of following Sou Fujimoto, whose ethereal cloud of steel for 2013 was dubbed one of the most popular Serpentine Pavilions of all time having been visited by almost 200,000 people during its summer stint.

Radic released renderings of his proposed pavilion in March this year to be greeted with mixed emotions from critics and the general public. Some compared it to a UFO while others praised the comparative simplicity of the design and celebrated the move away from so-called ‘starchitect’ choices by the gallery.  

Radic’s pavilion is a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure which has been designed to resemble a shell resting on a set of quarry stones. Of his commission the Chilean architect says: “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.”

The Pavilion opens to the public on Thursday 26 June and will remain on site until 19 October 2014. WAN will be publishing an interview with the lead engineer behind the 2014 Serpentine Gallery in the next issue of News Review (1 July 2014). 

Key Facts

Civic Buildings
Architecture
United Kingdom

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team
Jobs
  • Town Planning Manager | Housebuilder in Surrey | 3+ years' PQE

    Are you a Town Planner with some commercial experience under your belt (consultancy or developer)? Would you like to work for a regional housebuild...
    • Lewis Davey
    • Surrey - near M25/M23 junction
  • Principal Planning Consultant (Policy)

    This is a career opportunity for somebody looking to play a key role in the delivery of an effective and efficient planning policy service.
    • Capita
    • Manchester/Salford (North West) or Breckland or North Tyneside or Barnet (North London)
  • Senior Planning Officer

    A vacancy has arisen in the Development Management Section of the Planning Services Division for a part-time Senior Planning Officer.
    • South Derbyshire District Council
    • Derbyshire
  • Planning Officers

    Work as key members of the Councils development management service providing pre-application advice, dealing with applications and appeals.
    • Chiltern and South Bucks Council
    • Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  • Enforcement Officer - Hertfordshire

    A Local Authority in Hertfordshire are looking for an Enforcement Officer to assist them with a backlog of cases for an initial contract of 3-6 months
    • Oyster Partnership
    • Hertfordshire