For architects, the opportunity to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion annual commission is an exciting honour. This year, architect Frida Escobedo made history as the youngest to win the commission. Escobedo, who founded her own practice in Mexico City in 2006, brought elements of her native Mexico to London’s Hyde Park.
Escobedo stated that ‘[her] design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to [her] practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms.’ Black roofing tiles form a perforated wall common in Mexico called a celosia creating an inviting courtyard for visitors. The structure brings together light, water and geometry in a subtle interplay of elements weaving in themes of time and space in an elegant, if not sexy manner.
Adding to her impressive resumé, The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced on November 1st, that Escobedo will be one of seven worldwide architects honoured with RIBA’s 2019 International Fellowship. The award, which will be given in early 2019 in London, is a prestigious lifetime award. Awardees are recognized for their contributions to and advancement of architecture specifically in the world outside the UK. In addition to Escobedo, architects Poul Ove Jensen, Micheal Murphy and Alan Ricks, Neri Oxman, Emilio Tuñón, and Ignacio Vicens y Hualde will be awarded the 2019 RIBA laureate title.
Escobedo’s intent for her architectural designs is to revisit urban spaces that have become ‘residual’ or forgotten. She tends to created spaces that precariously exists in two realms: private and public. To do so, Escobedo melds together architectural styles from varying cultures allowing for unusually beautiful structures. Individuals who enjoy the spaces Escobedo creates experience both intimate and less private interactions. Escobedo strives for such dualities wanting guests to experience a range of emotions within her structures. The memory of each space and the interaction visitors have with it allows for unique and dynamic understandings of Escobedo’s work. Her 2018 Serpentine Pavilion makes for a shining culmination of these efforts. Whether a visitor pops in to sit and have a cup of coffee once or person passes the structure daily while walking their dog, the Pavilion leaves a lasting impression.
Frida Escobedo has accomplished a great deal in her short career so far. Considering her recent accolades, it is not surprise that Escobedo has also been named one of London’s most influential architects by the London Evening Standard. As her portfolio progresses, reshaping the world the world we see, she will inevitably leave a lasting mark on the field of architecture. She most certainly is an architect to watch.