Translating Smiljan Radić’s Serpentine Pavilion from Fantasy to Fabrication

The use of fiberglass allowed for the pavilion to be thin and brittle, but also had the strength to span a large face. The pigment made it fire retardant. Image Courtesy of Louis Webb Bird/AECOM

Settled neatly in the quiet hum of London‘s Gardens rests Smiljan Radić‘s 2014 Serpentine Pavilion, an ethereal mass of carefully moulded fiberglass punctuated by precisely cut openings. Radić desired a structure that appears thin and brittle, yet was strong enough to support itself, and his affection for the rudimental layered qualities of papier-mâché – his maquette medium of choice – inspired the use of fiberglass by AECOM, who engineered Radić’s wild ideas. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “Paper-Thin Walls, an AECOM engineer explains their solution. Read on after the break to find out more. 

Smiljan Radic’s Serpentine Pavilion / Images by Hufton+Crow

© Hufton+Crow

Photography studio Hufton+Crow is the latest to capture the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic. Step inside this glass-fibre reinforced plastic shell with Hufton+Crow’s photos after the break.

Critical Round-Up: 2014 Serpentine Pavilion / Smiljan Radic

© Iwan Baan

Last week, the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion opened in London‘s Hyde Park. The Serpentine Pavilion program invites architects who are yet to work in the to create a temporary installation at the gallery’s grounds for one summer, and this year it was the turn of Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, who rarely builds outside his native country and is arguably the least well-known architect in the Pavilion’s 14 year history.

Always a highlight in ’s architectural calender, critics almost line up to write their reviews. This year, they are almost entirely unanimous: Radic’s pavilion is, unquestionably, weird. But they’re also unanimous on another judgement: it may be one of the best Serpentine Pavilions yet.

Read on after the break to find out what the critics said about this year’s design

Smiljan Radic’s Serpentine Pavilion / Images by Danica O. Kus

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Architecture photographer Danica O. Kus has shared with us images of the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. For a closer look at this unusual pavilion, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s short story The Selfish Giant, check out all of Ms. Kus’ images after the break.

Smiljan Radic’s Serpentine Pavilion Opens

© 2014 Iwan Baan

UPDATE: Check out video from today’s press conference at the Serpentine Pavilion! 

The 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, opened this morning in London‘s . The pavilion, a glass-fibre reinforced plastic shell resting on large quarry stones, was inspired by a papier mâché model which Radic created four years ago as a response to the Oscar Wilde story ‘The Selfish Giant‘.

© Daniel Portilla

More images after the break

Smiljan Radic to Design 2014 Serpentine Pavilion

© 2014 Studio

Joining the ranks of Sou Fujimoto (2013), Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012),Peter Zumthor (2011),Jean Nouvel (2010),SANAA (2009),and more, little-known Chilean architect Smiljan Radic will be the fourteenth architect to design London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Renderings of his design reveal a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure that rests on large quarry stones.The pavilion, to open June 26th, will remain in Kensington Gardens for four months.

Although Radic has constructed little outside his home country, his work has gained attention due to its versatility and attention to context. If you’re unfamiliar, we recommend checking out Mestizo Restaurant, which similarly incorporates stone into its design, as well as his most recent. Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, of the Serpentine Galleries explained their choice: “We have been intrigued by [Radic’s] work ever since our first encounter with him at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2011 [sic]. Radic is a key protagonist of an amazing architectural explosion in Chile. While enigmatically archaic, in the tradition of romantic follies, Radic’s designs for the Pavilion also look excitingly futuristic, appearing like an alien space pod that has come to rest on a Neolithic site. We cannot wait to see his Pavilion installed on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn this summer.”

More info and images after the break…

UVA Transforms Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Pavilion with “Electrical Storm” of LEDs

-based United Visual Artists (UVA) has brought Sou Fujimoto’s “cloud-like” Serpentine Pavilion to life with an “electrical storm” of LEDs. With the intention of making the architecture “breathe” from within, UVA seamlessly integrated a network of LED lights into the latticed, 20mm steel pole structure that mimics the natural forms of an electric storm. In addition, carefully conducted auditory effects further enhance the experience, transforming Fujimoto’s “radical pavilion” into an electrified geometric cloud.

How Engineering the Serpentine Almost Brought AECOM’s Computers to a Halt

© Danica Kus

AECOM has published an article detailing the way they helped engineer this year’s Serpentive Pavilion. “A typical building might have between 1-2,000 such steel supports, and it’s estimated that the Eiffel Tower has just over 18,000 steel struts, but the Serpentine’s new pavilion has over 26,000 – each one working hard to lend form and strength…The level of detail nearly brought ’s computer systems to a halt. In fact a system upgrade was required to manage the information.” On ’s website you can read more about the challenges of and fireproofing Fujimoto’s complicated structure.

Sou Fujimoto’s Serpentine Pavilion Through the Lens of James Aiken

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Dazzling viewers with its “tron-like landscape of infinite white,” as described by Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright, ’s Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park is arguably “one of the most radical pavilions to date.” The 350 square-meter latticed structure melts into its surrounding by fusing together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain in which transforms into a variety of seating, steps and side tables that complement its interior coffee bar (view more images here).

This video was provided by film maker James Aiken, in collaboration with The , and commissioned by COS.

Fujimoto’s Serpentine Pavilion Receives High Praise from Critics

© Daniel Portilla

With the opening of his cloud-like gridded structure in Hyde Park last week, Sou Fujimoto became the youngest architect in the pantheon of Serpentine Gallery Pavilion designers. The pavilion is an annual commission for a temporary structure, always given to a well known architect who is yet to build in the . In previous years the commission has been awarded to Herzog & de Meuron with Ai Weiwei (2012), Peter Zumthor (2011), Jean Nouvel (2010), SANAA (2009), stretching back to the original pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid in 2000.

With such a prolific history of star designers over the past 13 years, Fujimoto’s ethereal design has a lot to live up to. But despite these high expectations, architecture critics have been gushing over the new design. See a full round-up of opinions after the break…

Serpentine Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

© Daniel Portilla

This Thursday, the official opening of the Serpentine Pavilion, by Sou Fujimoto, took place in , London. It was the first time the public could interact with the structure.

The pavilion, which has already gotten the “cloud” nickname because of its shape and lightness, is generated through a three-dimensional steel grid of about 40 centimetre modules which morphs on each side. The structure is broken to allow people access as well as to generate different uses around, below and upon it.

More pictures and the architect’s statement after the break.

2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

© Iwan Baan

Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 Serpentine Pavilion, now complete and standing on the front lawn of London’s , has opened to the press and we are now able to see Iwan Baan’s photographs of the temporary pavilion. Fujimoto will be lecturing to a sold out crowd this coming Saturday (June 8th) when the pavilion opens to the general public. The semi-transparent, multi-purpose social space will be on view until October 20th.

Fujimoto (age 41) is the youngest architect to accept the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation, joining the ranks of Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei (2012)Peter Zumthor (2011)Jean Nouvel (2010)SANAA (2009)and more. He described his Serpentine project as “…an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of Kensington Gardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.”

The Guardian has posted both print and video reviews by Oliver Wainwright.

More images by Iwan Baan after the break. See also In Progress: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto.

In Progress: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion / Sou Fujimoto

© Laurence Mackman

Sou Fujimoto’s contribution for the 13th edition of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is beginning to take shape, as the “geometric, cloud-like form” has slowly made its way towards the height of the trees in the rustic landscape of London’s Kensington Gardens. Upon its completion in June, the 350 square-meter latticed structure will fuse together the man-made and natural world, creating a lush, semi-transparent terrain that will host a series of flexible social spaces and a vibrant collection of plant life.

More images by London photographer Laurence Mackman after the break.

Sou Fujimoto to design the 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Pavilion 2013 Designed by Sou Fujimoto, Interior Indicative CGI © Studio Cyrille Thomas for Sou Fujimoto Architects

Today, the Serpentine Gallery announced the architect that will design the 13th edition of the . Every year the gallery invites a renowned international architects who have not built yet in the UK, to design a temporary pavilion that hosts public activities in at the Gallery’s lawn, in London’s Hyde Park between June and October. The list of architects for the past editions includes several Pritzker laureates. More info of this program at our Serpentine Gallery Pavilion infographic.

The Japanese architect based in Tokyo established his firm Sou Fujimoto Architects  back in 2000. He graduated from the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1994, and has been a lecturer at Kyoto University since 2007. With a solid trajectory in residential and cultural projects, the firm has consistently shown a unique and innovative approach to the spatial qualities within his buildings, exploring new ways of housing design, space and materials. Sou was also part of the team that won the Golden Lion at the 13th Venice Biennale, with “Architecture, possible here? Home-for-All”, the Japan pavilion. 

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 Designed by Sou Fujimoto, Exterior Indicative CGI  © Studio Cyrille Thomas for Sou Fujimoto Architects

About the design of the pavilion Sou stated: “For the 2013 Pavilion I propose an architectural landscape: a transparent terrain that encourages people to interact with and explore the site in diverse ways. Within the pastoral context of KensingtonGardens, I envisage the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life woven together with a constructed geometry. A new form of environment will be created, where the natural and the man-made merge; not solely architectural nor solely natural, but a unique meeting of the two.

The Pavilion will be a delicate, three-dimensional structure, each unit of which will be composed of fine steel bars. It will form a semi-transparent, irregular ring, simultaneously protecting visitors from the elements while allowing them to remain part of the landscape. The overall footprint will be 350 square-metres and the Pavilion will have two entrances. A series of stepped terraces will provide seating areas that will allow the Pavilion to be used as a flexible, multi-purpose social space.

The delicate quality of the structure, enhanced by its semi-transparency, will create a geometric, cloud-like form, as if it were mist rising from the undulations of the park. From certain vantage points, the Pavilion will appear to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.”

We are big fans of Sou’s work, and we are very excited to see this project being built at Hyde Park. As usual, expect a complete coverage of this project. You can watch our interview with Sou after the break:

One Week Left of the Serpentine Pavilion!

© Julien Lanoo

The summer months have come and gone, which means one thing: the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is winding to an end (on October 14th, to be exact)!

This year’s underground pavilion was designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei as a kind of archaeological discovery of pavilions past. As they explain: “Like a team of archaeologists, we identify [the] physical fragments as remains of the eleven Pavilions built between 2000 and 2011. […] These remains testify to the existence of the former Pavilions and their greater or lesser intervention in the natural environment of the park.”

Although most of the public events that made up the Park Nights programme have already occurred (including a showing of the incredible documentary on Ai Weiwei and a talk by Herzog & de Meuron), you can still catch the culminating event of the Pavilion, the Memory Marathon (October 12-14), which kicks off with Lebanese sound artist Tarek Atoui performing La Suite. The three-day, multi-disciplinary festival will feature over 60 participants, including former REM vocalist Michael Stipe, filmmaker David Lynch (who will present a new film), and the Pavilion architects, Herzog and de Meuron themselves.

For more info, check out our past coverage on the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 / Photos by Julien Lanoo

© Julien Lanoo

Last week we presented the first images of the recently open Serpentine Gallery Pavilion designed by Ai Weiwei & Herzog & de Meuron in , showing the half sunk and water-covered structure and its beautiful blending into the landscape. Today, Julien Lanoo shared with us these great images giving a better understanding of the spaces and its surroundings.

You can check some more images after the break.

First images of Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012

© Daniel Portilla

Starting tomorrow, the 12th version of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion will be open at the in . As we announced some months ago, the design was commissioned to Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. The final proposal was published just at the beginning of this month, showing an interesting ground work. This year’s pavilion is half sunk into the landscape, as if it were carved in the terrain and covered with a liquid layer, reflecting the the surrounding light and landscape.

More info and images after the break

Video: Serpentine Gallery / Peter Zumthor


In light of the announcement that Herzog & de Meuron and Ai WeiWei will be designing this year’s Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery, we take a look back at last year’s Pavilion and the architect behind it, Peter Zumthor.

Last summer ’s Serpentine Gallery unveiled a new architectural feat in the form of the celebrated Pavilion, built to stand for just three months. In the past few years esteemed designers Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and Olafur Eliasson have exercised their creative muscles, and last year Swiss architecht Peter Zumthor steps up to the plate to create a relaxing space to encourage conversation. Here, Crane.tv finds out what inspired Zumthor.