Rendering of the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura. Rendering by Atmósfera.

Mexican Architect Frida Escobedo to Design 2018 Serpentine Pavilion

Mexican architect Frida Escobedo has been selected to design the 2018 Serpentine Pavilion. At thirty-eight years old, she is the youngest architect—and the first woman in eighteen years—to be awarded the commission. Her predecessor, Zaha Hadid, conceived of the inaugural design for the initiative’s first temporary structure in 2000. The pavilion, which will be open from June 15 to October 7 in New Hyde Park, London, references both Mexican architecture and British history.

Born in Mexico City in 1979, Escobedo founded her architectural practice in Mexico City in 2006. Much of her work is about reactivating urban areas. Her designs have been featured at major shows including the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 and 2014 and the Lisbon Architecture Triennale in 2013. Her work can be found in cities such as San Francisco, London, and New York. Among her recent projects are the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, California, and social housing projects in Guerrero and Saltillo, Mexico.

Her design for the pavilion, which will take on the form of an enclosed courtyard, with dark latticed walls made of cement roof tiles, melds cultural influences from Mexico and Britain. The space was inspired by the internal courtyards and the traditional celosias, or breeze walls, that are commonly found in Mexican domestic architecture. Celosias allow the wind to cool structures during Mexico’s hot summer months. The structure’s pivoted axis also references the prime meridian, the line of longitude established in 1851 at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. British materials will be used to construct the work, which will also feature mirrored panels beneath its roof canopy to emphasize the movement of light and shadow throughout the day.

For Escobedo, her design is “a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms.”