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CENTRING ON THE WORLD'S CENTRE

by Alex Yu on May 15, 2014 in Architecture
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Chilean architect Smiljan Radic unveils an audacious design for the 2014 Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery — an annual landmark project in Hyde Park, coinciding with celebrations for the first decade of the London Festival of Architecture

From the classical Stourhead in Wiltshire and the exotic Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire, to the Oare House pavilion near Marlborough by architect IM Pei, the long history of garden follies in the UK was the inspiration for architect Smiljan Radic for the Serpentine Pavilion.

Every year since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a temporary summer pavilion by a leading architect — previous invitees include Zaha Hadid and Sou Fujimoto, whose models were on display earlier in Hong Kong, with the working models now forming part of the M+ collection.

Until 19 October, visitors to the Serpentine Gallery will find “a fragile shell suspended on large quarry stones” according to Smiljan Radic Studio founder Smiljan Radic, whose earlier work from Oscar Wilde’s The Castle Of The Selfish Giant informs his current inspiration.

“I developed an understanding of the Pavilions through previous publications, but never had the opportunity to visit them before in London,” Radic says. “The Pavilion creates a symbolic place for the city, as a new interpreter comes in every year to create a different world again and again.”

Collaborating with artist Marcela Correa, the pair drew inspiration from her work at the 2010 Venice Bienale, which had been inspired by the David Hockney etching The Boy Hidden in a Fish. “We walked through the quarries of the Andes looking for shaped granite boulders with natural shells and rusty weathering,” Radic recalls. “These qualities allow an understanding of the geological history through the stone.”

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