The Yelo team spent last Thursday on a design trip to visit an assortment of architecture in London. During the morning we were lucky enough to tour Carmody Groarke’s Highgate House, where the owner previously studied architecture with our director, Andy. Afterwards we made our way towards Hyde Park to visit the Frida Escobedo’s Serpentine Pavilion, Jean Claude and Christo’s Mastaba, and Zaha Hadid’s Sackler Gallery extension.
Welcomed with good weather we gathered at Highgate house in the early morning to be greeted by the owner took us on a tour while telling us the backstory of how the house came to be. Having trained as an architect she was very much familiar with good design and eager to create an exemplary contemporary home that catered to the needs of her family. Drawn to an early design from Carmody Architects she commissioned them to design the house. Not to be forgotten are the contractors, New Wave London, who have done an amazing job with the construction of the build.
Perhaps the most impressive feature is the expansive atrium and the glass that spans floor to roof height, allowing in an abundance of light and impressive views into the garden that backs on to Highgate Wood. The continuation of red brick from the outside in and composition of only 3 major materials (red Danish brick, dark wood, and white stone) create a cohesive aesthetic that unites the exterior and interior of the building.
After hopping on the tube to South Kensington we picked up our lunch from Paul Bakery and made our way towards Kensington Gardens. Unfortunately our scheduled stop to see the V&A extension by AL_A had to be skipped as hoardings were up due to more works being undertaken. After enjoying our picnic lunch we progressed to the Serpentine Pavilion.
This year’s pavilion was designed by Frida Escobedo, a Mexican architect who took inspiration from the common courtyards of residences in her home country to create the space. Concrete roof tiles made in the UK are “woven” together to form the structure and a shallow film of water, paired with a mirrored ceiling, reflect the patterned tiles. Following the theme of a communal courtyard the pavilion is home to a number of events and lectures, one of which was in progress during our visit. The combination of dark tiles with flashes of light through the gaps made for a very fascinating visuals.
Not far from the Serpentine Gallery the Mastaba, created by Jeanne Claude (deceased) and Christo, sits atop the Serpentine Lake. Accompanying the installation in the nearby Serpentine Gallery is a collection of drawings and models from Jean Claude and Christo documenting the plans and journey of the Mastaba. Originally intended to permanently reside in Abu Dhabi the original proposal was 150 metres high and formed of 410,000 barrels. This version has been scaled down massively from that, topping out at ‘only’ 20 metres, but still forms an impressive spectacle floating on the lake surrounded by greenery and its shimmering reflection on the water.
All in all it was a great day taking in a variety of architecture and design!