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The Serpentine Gallery's new pavilion has a paddling pool

By Rosemary Waugh

Each summer, London’s Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park entrusts part of its outdoor space to a different architect tasked with creating a new pavilion. This year, it’s the turn of Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, the youngest creative ever selected for the commission, and a rising international star.

The annual event started in 2000 with Zaha Hadid behind the design of the first temporary structure on the site. It’s since become known for its pinpointing of up-and-coming architects from across the globe – meaning that if you don’t know their names yet, you soon will.  

Escobedo’s commission opens to the public on 15 June and it looks set to be a cracker. The courtyard-based design references the designer’s native Mexico, where internal courtyards are a familiar sight. It’s other main idea, however, comes from a source somewhat closer to London: the Prime Meridian line at Greenwich.

Positioned on a pivoted axis, and filled with cleverly-positioned mirrors and a reflective pool, the pavilion will emphasise the sun’s passage across the sky, and the changing time of day - basically, it's going to be one giant clock. With a paddling pool in it.

But visitors won’t have to know much about the science of marking time to appreciate the structure. Crafted out of dark-coloured materials, with little hints of the surrounding greenery just visible, the Serpentine Pavilion promises to be a cool, relaxing haven away from the stresses of sweaty summer tube journeys.

The Serpentine Pavilion is open 10am - 6pm, every day apart from 18-19 June. To find out more, including the Friday evening Park Nights programme of art and performance, click here.

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