In 2015, Serpentine Galleries celebrated the 15th anniversary of the world-renowned Pavilion commission.
The 2015 Pavilion went on to show at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles.
The Serpentine Pavilion has become an international site for architectural experimentation, presenting inspirational temporary structures by some of the world’s greatest architects. A much-anticipated landmark in London each summer, the Pavilion is one of the top 10 most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world.
In 2015, Spanish architects selgascano designed the 15th Serpentine Pavilion. The award-winning studio, headed by José Selgas and Lucía Cano, was the first Spanish architecture practice to be asked to design the temporary Pavilion on the Serpentine’s lawn in London’s Kensington Gardens. In keeping with the criteria of the scheme, this was the studio’s first new structure in the UK. The Pavilion was an amorphous, double-skinned polygonal structure consisting of panels of a translucent, multi-coloured fluorine-based polymer (ETFE) woven through and wrapped like webbing. Visitors could enter and exit the Pavilion at a number of different points, passing through a ‘secret corridor’ between the outer and inner layer of the structure and into the Pavilion’s brilliant, stained glass-effect interior.
Serpentine Galleries Director, Julia Peyton-Jones and Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist said: ‘We are proud to work with selgascano in this, the 15th year of a commission unique in the western world that continues to showcase some of the boldest and innovative designs in contemporary architecture internationally. In keeping with their reputation for playful designs and bold use of colour, selgascano’s structure will be an extraordinary chrysalis-like structure, as organic as the surrounding gardens. We can’t wait to go inside to experience the light diffused through the coloured panels like stained glass windows. It will be a place for people to meet, to have coffee and to experience the live events we put on throughout the summer.’
The architects described their design: ‘When the Serpentine invited us to design the Pavilion, we began to think about what the structure needed to provide and what materials should be used in a Royal Park in London. These questions, mixed with our own architectural interests and the knowledge that the design needs to connect with nature and feel part of the landscape, provided us with a concept based on pure visitor experience. We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials. We have therefore designed a Pavilion which incorporates all of these elements. The spatial qualities of the Pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it. Each entrance allows for a specific journey through the space, characterised by colour, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. This is accomplished by creating a double-layered shell, made of opaque and translucent fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) in a variety of colours. At the heart of the Pavilion is an open space for gathering as well as a café. We are also very much aware of the Pavilion’s anniversary in our design for the 15th annual commission. The structure therefore had to be – without resembling previous Pavilions – a tribute to them all and a homage to all the stories told within