Designer Stories

Frida Escobedo

– A True Inspiration
Frida Escobedo was born in 1979 in Mexico City where she studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana. She then went on to pursue a Master’s degree in public art at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Today, the 40-year-old architect is known for her subtle makeovers of existing buildings and use of modest materials. Since her practice in 2006, she has completed projects starting with her native country as well as California, London, and Lisbon. One was a gallery in the former home of painter David Alfaro Siqueiros and another, an Aztec-inspired installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

According to Escobedo, the set of challenges faced by Mexican architects have led to a space for creative collaboration and competition between studios that are spread across these generations.

Serpentine Pavilion: 2018

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Her most recent and prominent project was the Serpentine Pavilion in London. Frida is the youngest architect and second female architect after Zaha Hadid to receive the prestigious award.

The basic geometry of the Pavilion is a rectangular courtyard. And within the courtyard is a rotation of four other walls that are aligned to the True North and the Greenwich Meridian. Escobedo’s aim was to create a structure specific to the site that would fit into the current location and have the ability to adapt to a new and permanent site after its exhibition.

The structure is made of semi-connected walls that reflect a pool, to create a peaceful and protected inner courtyard. The walls are a framework of grey concrete roof tiles that are supported by a steel structure. This design has been inspired by celosia walls that were commonly used in Mexico.

The tapestry-like walls let daylight and breeze come through without affecting the interior space, keeping it cool throughout the day. It also gives people a sense privacy without completely detaching from the world outside.

There’s a lot we can learn from Frida Escobedo and her triumphs over the years. The ability to constantly collaborate and allow a space for creative expression to brew is what truly inspires us.

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