The Radić Pavilion

21 March, 2015

The Radić Pavilion, Hauser and Wirth, Bruton

Today, the 21st March 2015, saw Hauser and Wirth Somerset’s opening of the Radić Pavilion. The pavilion, by Chilean Architect Smiljan Radić was part of the Serpentine Galleries annual installations in 2014, but has, this year, made a transition to Somerset for the start of Spring 2015. 

Jenny and I were at H+W to see the structure on its opening day. 

As a structure its fascinating, a translucent fibreglass shell supported on a steel frame, concealed in purposefully located massive quarry stones. The principal form of the structure is a hoop around an central void, across which cut outs in the shell allow glimpses of the opposing side of the hoop. Within the void is a lower open space, with a large flat quarry stone set within it. We weren’t able to venture underneath on this visit - the grass being recently turfed - but the space under and below the structure would be fascinating. Maybe next time. 

Inside, the sun shone, the shell illuminated, exposing the layering of fabric making up this structure. The edges are frayed and sealed through the process of construction, but one feels as if you could almost pick and unravel the shell, forming new openings and views - so adding to its transient nature. Most notable inside were the ribbons of lighting snaking around the top of the shell, wilful and playful. 

H+W press release relates this pavilion to the long tradition of garden buildings and ‘follies’, of the C16th to C19th. C18th follies being in our portfolio we can see this echo, but the temporal nature of this building is a stark contrast to the rooted Rotunda at Halswell and the other structures that are designed within the site. The other aspect of this being that these structures were incredibly site specific whereas the Radić Pavilion has been relocated in a very different environment to its original home at the Serpentine.

However, as an ‘inward looking structure, which can be carefully located within this new context - its is a testament to its design that it sits so well in its new setting - a sleeping Piet Oudolf ’s Open Field (15th July-5th October) - a C21st designed landscape. 

Definitely worth a visit - as are the associated exhibitions and of course the Roth Bar and Grill on site…