Chilean architect Smiljan Radić designs
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2014

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News: Chilean architect Smiljan Radić has been named as the designer of this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion and is proposing a translucent domed structure of white fibreglass.

The shell-like pavilion will rest on a bed of huge rocks, based on the Castle of the Selfish Giant imagined by nineteenth-century author Oscar Wilde.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2014 by Smiljan Radic

"Externally, the visitor will see a fragile shell suspended on large quarry stones," said Radić. "This shell - white, translucent and made of fibreglass - will house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating."

The translucent fibreglass will allow the structure to glow after dark. "At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by, like lamps attracting moths," said the architect.

Smiljan Radić - a 48-year-old architect who before now has built little outside of his native Chile - will be one of the youngest and least-known architects selected by the Serpentine Gallery in the 14-year history of the programme.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2014 by Smiljan Radic

"We have been intrigued by his work ever since our first encounter with him at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2011," said Serpentine Gallery directors Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

"Radić is a key protagonist of an amazing architectural explosion in Chile. While enigmatically archaic, in the tradition of romantic follies, Radić's designs for the Pavilion also look excitingly futuristic, appearing like an alien space pod that has come to rest on a Neolithic site. We cannot wait to see his Pavilion installed on the Serpentine Gallery's lawn this summer."

The pavilion will open to the public on 26 June and will remain in Kensington Gardens until 19 October.

Smiljan Radic
Smiljan Radić - photograph by Hisao Suzuki

Last year's pavilion was designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and comprised a cloud-like structure made from a lattice of steel poles. Other past commissions include Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA and Peter Zumthor.

Here's the full press release from the Serpentine Gallery:


Chilean architect Smiljan Radić to design Serpentine Galleries Pavilion 2014

The Serpentine has commissioned Chilean architect Smiljan Radic to design the Serpentine Galleries Pavilion 2014. Radić is the fourteenth architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion outside the entrance to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. The commission is one of the most anticipated events in the cultural calendar, and has become one of London's leading summer attractions since launching in 2000.

Smiljan Radić's design follows Sou Fujimoto's cloud-like structure, which was visited by almost 200,000 people in 2013 and was one of the most visited Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, 2012; Peter Zumthor, 2011; Jean Nouvel, 2010; Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA, 2009; Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un-realised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond - with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural Pavillion in 2000.

Occupying a footprint of some 350 square metres on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery, plans depict a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure, designed to resemble a shell, resting on large quarry stones. Radić's Pavilion has its roots in his earlier work, particularly The Castle of the Selfish Giant, inspired by the Oscar Wilde story, and the Restaurant Mestizo, part of which is supported by large boulders. Design as a flexible, multi-purpose social space with a café sited inside, the Pavilion will entice visitors to enter and interact with it in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in the Park. On selected Friday nights, between July and September, the Pavilion will become the stage for the Serpentine's Park Nights series, sponsored by COS: eight site-specific events bring together art, poetry, music, film, literature and theory and include three new commissions by emerging artists Lina Lapelyte, Hannah Perry and Heather Phillipson. Serpentine Galleries Pavilion 2014 launces during the London Festival of Architecture 2014,

Smiljan Radić has completed the majority of his structures in Chile. His commissions range from public buildings, such as the Civic Neighbourhoods, Concepción, Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago, Restaurant Mestizo, Santiago, and the Vik Winery, Millahue, and domestic buildings, such as Copper House 2, Talca, Pite House, Papudo, and the House for the Poem of the Right Angle, Vilches, to small and seemingly fragile buildings, such as the Extension to Charcoal Burner's House, Santa Rosa, The Wardrobe and the Mattress, Tokyo, Japan, and The Bus Stop Commission, Kumbranch, Austria. Considerate of social conditions, environments and materials, Smiljan Radić moves freely across boundaries with his work, avoiding any specific categorisation within one field of architecture. This versatility enables him to respond to the demands of each setting, whether spatial constraints of an urban site or extreme challenges presented by a remote rural setting, mountainous terrain or the rocky coastline of his native Chile.

AECOM will again provide engineering and technical design services, as it did for the first time in 2013. In addition, AECOM will also be acting as cost and project manager for the 2014 Pavilion. While this is the second Serpentine Pavilion for AECOM, its global chief executive for building engineering, David Glover, has worked on the designs for a majority of the Pavilions to date. The Serpentine is delighted that J.P. Morgan Private Bank is the co-headline sponsor of this year's Pavilion.

  • Eynak East

    This is Radic time not ‘had it’ time, it’s his time to shine sublime in the serpentine.
    This translucent dome of fibre glass could be class on the grass, got mores shine then polished brass.
    So let’s see in June if it plays to the tune of the Chiliean pavillion, multi-million designs in the Serpentine,
    14 times over they be doing this thing, building architecture letting the foreigners sing, never built here before n’ now showing their score, never once before have we seen a bore,
    So it’s up to Radic to prove once more, the design in the park is not mundane, not arcane with designing free reign but with style and bubble like a fine champagne. Sup.

  • Ivan

    Smiljan Radic, true Chilean :)

  • T,.T

    Jedi master ;)

    • amsam

      His Obi-Wan Kenobi-inspired robe will be for sale in the gift shop.

  • Ivan

    Very different to last year’s pavilion. Fantastic concept, brilliant job Smiljan!