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First photos emerge of 2015 Serpentine Pavilion

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Work is nearing completion on Madrid-based SelgasCano’s multi-coloured Serpentine Pavilion

Due to open next week (25 June), the temporary structure on the lawns outside London’s Serpentine Pavilion has been built from translucent panels of ETFE ‘woven through and wrapped in webbing’.

The ‘playful and bold’ structure in Kensington Garden will be the gallery’s 15th summer pavilion and will remain on the site until 18 October.

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.

When the designs were revealed in March, Serpentine Galleries director, Julia Peyton-Jones and co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist described the practices proposals as an ‘extraordinary chrysalis-like structure’ and ‘as organic as the surrounding gardens’.

Initial plans to create the pop-up structure from a single material were ditched by SelgasCano’s co-founders José Selgas and Lucía Cano (see AJ 08.01.15) after they ‘proved to be impractical’.

SelgasCano completed its first scheme in the UK, the fit-out of a creative workspace in Shoreditch, London, last December (AJ 09.12.15).

Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano - under construction [June 2015]

Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano - under construction [June 2015]

Excerpts from AJ’s January 2015 interview with Lucía Cano

Have you learned anything from the previous pavilions?
We want to do everything differently, of course. We are the type of architects that, whenever we realise that somebody is doing something similar to the things we are, we immediately move to other places we still imagine as unexplored.

And, in that direction, we see this pavilion as a great opportunity to explore and investigate some processes that we have been interested in lately.

How well do you know London?
Well. We’ve travelled to London last year at least 50 times because we had some other commissions there related to the Second Home project [a creative workspace fit-out in Shoreditch, London, see AJ 09.12.14]. But, as foreigners, we have the possibility of working with much more freedom in London than a local practice might.

And how much thought have you given to the weather over here?
The people move and live differently in London than in other parts of the world because of its specific climate conditions. Above all, the weather in London is absolutely changeable, and even more so during the summer, and we expect the people will experience that continuous changing both inside and outside the building.

Does a scheme like this allow you to push your boundaries – and those of architecture – further than a usual commission?
We try to push our boundaries even on normal projects. This case will be the same as always. At some point we´ll need to relax the push, in order to make it feasible.

Can you give us any more details about your ‘one material approach’?
We can´t give you any detail in that direction about the project because it´s totally forbidden by the curators. But, yes, we are trying to build the whole pavilion with just one material, which looks like at the end might probably be impossible.

Are you afraid of failing?
The most recurrent dream we have is to arrive to a building of our own that was under construction and seeing a horrible “thing” that we haven´t controlled enough. Because that nightmare we need to be very close to the projects and construction process trying to be sure that everything is taken utmost care as possible. Doing that, doing the most as we can is the only way to sleep well at least. But on the other hand fail is a word that we see as something that has to be inserted in every interesting project.

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