Serpentine gallery pavilion 2014

Posted on October 12, 2014 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Smiljan Radić
The Serpentine Pavilion 2014 by Smiljan Radić


I have a backlog of blog entries and this is one of them as I want to publish it before the pavilion gets dismantled after next week ( and apology for the rather dark photographs).


It took me a while to visit the new Serpentine gallery pavilion designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić (until 19th October). At first glance, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this odd pebble/rock-like structure (for some, it looks more like an egg or UFO). Walking around it, I began to appreciate its organic shape and the seemingly random rocks that support it. Yet what fascinated me most is the thinness of the GRP fibreglass shell and the curvy mushroom-like interior.




When I first saw the photographs of this papier mache-inspired pavilion before my visit, like many others, I thought that the pavilion looks quite ugly, especially when compared to the previous pavilions by more established architects. Yet when I was there, I was quite mesmorised by this 'ugly' structure. It stands out for me because it is completely different from the design-oriented pavilions from the past. For some reason, the structure and its surrounding remind me of the Japanese rock garden, there is something quite primitive and zen/ wabi sabi quality about it.

While architecture these days is predominantly developed based on aesthetics elements and forms, Radić has proposed and developed something opposite. He challenges viewers/visitors to see architecture differently, and in a way, it strips away the aesthetic value, placing it low in priority. And this why I think this pavilion is the most challenging and thought-provoking pavilion that I have seen for years. The architect said that it is also partially inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, and the the romantic, transformative power of follies. To me, it is almost like an giant art sculpture, it feels raw, poetic and calming. Don't judge this pavilion from the photographs, you need to visit it (without the crowds) to feel its presence and appreciate its uniqueness.

And for those who are still not convinced, all I can say is that, 'Beauty in the eye of the beholder'.


This post was posted in London, Architecture, Design, Contemporary and was tagged with London, serpentine pavilion, contemporary architecture