Chilean architect commissioned for prestigious London project

Smiljan Radic to be the 14th architect to design a temporary pavilion for the British capital’s Serpentine Gallery.

Chile’s mounting reputation for design and producing top-flight architects received a further boost this month as Smiljan Radic was invited to complete the annual pavillion project for London’s Serpentine Gallery.

The temporary outdoor structure will sit outside the renowned gallery in the British capital’s, expansive green lung, Hyde Park. The 14th architect to accept the museum’s invitation and participate in the annual project, Radic will follow in the footsteps of many other acclaimed figures of the design world. Among them, Sou Fujimoto, who designed the nebulous 2013 structure that attracted a total of more than 200,000 visitors — one of the most popular constructions in the project’s history.

The recently-released designs of Radic’s pavillion show a semi-transparent, cylindrical space with a cloud-like appearance, matching the city’s infamously overcast weather. Inside will be a multi-purpose social space and a café.

Radic describes his work on the Serpentine Gallery website.

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

The young Chilean studied at Universidad Católica’s architecture school — a prestigious faculty, known for producing many internationally recognized figures — before completing his education in Italy. Among his works in his home country are the Mestizo restaurant and the highly-acclaimed, recently reopened Museo de Arte Precolombino. He has also worked in Austria and Spain.

Director of the Serpentine Gallery Julia Peyton-Jones was recently in Chile and spoke to Plataforma Arquitectura about Radic and the 2014 pavillion.

“We have been intrigued about his work since our first encounter with him at the Venice Biennial Architecture event of 2010. Radic is a key protagonist in the incredible explosion of architecture in Chile,” she said. “We can’t wait to see his pavilion installed in the gardens this summer.”

The pavillion will be open from Thursday June 26 to Sunday October 19.