The House of the Selfish Giant

architect Smiljan Radic
project Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2014, London, UK
written by Alan Kostrenčić


Having been writing about the Serpentine Pavilions ever since the 2006 Rem Koolhaas’s Pavilion, the comparison of a diverse set of approaches and architects logically asserts itself. Earlier Pavilions could be roughly classified into two groups: those which have the tendency of disappearing – the 2013 Fujimoto’s Pavilion, the 2009 Sejima’s Pavilion (sanaa) and, to an extent, even the 2012 Ai Weiwei’s and Herzog & de Meuron’s Pavilion; and those which aspire to become memorable objects, though it is done through unconventional approaches – such as Jean Nouvel’s red cabinet from 2010, or the ufo-like structure by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen from 2007, and the already mentioned Koolhaas’s balloon-like Pavilion. Interestingly, this year’s Pavilion designed by Smiljan Radic in a specific way sublimates and connects the two complementary approaches. His Pavilion is formally very present, yet also amazingly fragile. The fragility and transparency of the materials dematerialise its physical appearance. Its effect, however, does not seem to be a result of architectural elements but is, actually, more related to something so appropriately pertinent to this astonishing London park, and that is – a fairy tale.