Little-known, Madrid-based practice SelgasCano has been chosen by the Serpentine Gallery to design next year’s summer pavilion
The ‘playful’ outfit, founded by José Selgas and Lucía Cano in 2008, will become the first Spanish architect to draw up plans for the temporary structure outside the gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens.
The flexible, multi-purpose space will also be the award-winning studio’s first new structure in the UK - though it has had work shown at the Design Museum in London and recently completed the fit-out of a creative workspace, Second Home, in Shoreditch. Designs for the pavilion are not expected to be unveiled until February next year (2015).
It is the third year in a row that the gallery, headed by Julia Peyton-Jones and her co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist, has appointed a less well-known designer for its annual architectural centrepiece.
This summer the Serpentine turned to rising Chilean star Smiljan Radic, who created a pebble-like sanctuary, and in 2013 up-and-coming Japanese talent Sou Fujimoto built a giant lattice of poles forming an ‘architectural landscape’ on the gallery’s lawn.
Since the programme began in 2000, the coveted commission has been awarded to a raft of architectural Titans such as Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry.
Speaking about SelgasCano’s appointment, Peyton-Jones and Obrist said: ‘They are architects for our time who offer a tantalising vision of the future.
‘Their innovative use of materials, bold application of colour, informed by playfulness and a passion for nature ensures that next summer’s pavilion will be very exciting.
‘They are the perfect choice to celebrate the pavilion’s 15th anniversary’.
According to the gallery SelgasCano’s previous work, including the ‘amorphous’ Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre in Cáceres, the ‘playful floating shapes’ of its Merida Factory Youth Movement and even the practice’s own subterranean offices, ‘offer clues as to the direction’ of the architects’ proposed pavilion.
Outside of Spain the firm is working on a number of schemes in Los Angeles as well as the renovation of Texas Square in Oranjestad, Aruba, Lesser Antilles.
In a joint statement, the practice’s co-founders described the commission as an ‘amazing and unique opportunity’.
They said: ‘Both aspects, garden and London, are very important for us in the development of this project.
We are going to use only one material
‘We are going to use only one material as a canvas for both. That material has to be explored in all its structural possibilities, avoiding any other secondary material that supports it and the most advanced technologies will be needed to be employed to accomplish that transparency.
‘A good definition for the pavilion can be taken from JM Barrie: it aims to be as a Betwixt-and-Between.’
AECOM, in collaboration with David Glover, will again provide engineering and technical design services.
Source: Iwan Baan
Previous pavilion designers
2014 Smiljan Radic
2013 Sou Fujimoto
2012 Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei
2011 Peter Zumthor
2010 Jean Nouvel
2009 Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, SANAA
2008 Frank Gehry
2007 Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen
2006 Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, Arup
2005 Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup
2004 MVRDV with Arup (un-realised)
2003 Oscar Niemeyer
2002 Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond with Arup
2001 Daniel Libeskind with Arup
2000 Zaha Hadid