Frida Escobedo designs enclosed courtyard for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018
She's young, she's cool and she's the first woman to design the Pavilion since the late, great Zaha Hadid: here's what to expect from Mexican architect Frida Escobedo
Mexican architect Frida Escobedo is the 18th architect to design one of the world's most prestigious architectural commissions. At only 38, she is the youngest practitioner to take on the project, and the first solo woman since the late Zaha Hadid. But what can we expect from this vibrant new talent?
With design elements from both the domestic architecture of Mexico and Britain, specifically the Prime Meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich and the celosia – a traditional perforated breeze wall commonly found in Mexican domestic architecture – Escobedo's Pavilion plays with light, water and geometry in the most inventive of ways.
'My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself', says the architect in a statement. 'For the Serpentine Pavilion', she continues, 'we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.'
While Escobedo is not yet a household name, she founded her Mexico City-based practice in 2006. Among her numerous celebrated international Pavilions, her architectual commissions have earned her recognition among magpies across the world. From the chic but relaxed interiors of two Aesop shops in Florida to an Aztec-inspired installation in London's V&A, Escobedo's designs reflect the cultural heritage and aesthetic traditions of their host region. With her focus on locally sourced materials, sustainability, and multiculturalism, Frida Escobedo is an innovative new talent in design.
The list of global starchitects who have designed for the Serpentine is phenomenal, and includes Francis Kéré, Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel as well as the artist Ai Weiwei. The annual commission has resulted in some of the most ambitious and creative architectural structures that London has seen, and each year we have come to expect the boundaries to be pushed back that little bit more.
Visitors are invited to use the pavilion in different ways, with it providing shelter from the summer heat – or, of course, the rain. The space will also be transformed into a venue for the Serpentine's annual programme of experimental interdisciplinary evenings, Park Nights, showcasing a series of new commissions by emerging artists.