Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Chilean architect Smiljan Radic is best known for seemingly coming out of nowhere to create the 2014 summer pavilion for London’s Serpentine Gallery, which each year chooses a different architect to design a temporary structure open to the public for three months. Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor and Oscar Niemeyer are some of the series’ previous architects.
For his pavilion, Radic produced a form that was somewhere between a neolithic doughnut and a luminous alien egg (its thin fiberglass shell allowed light to escape at night). The whole structure rested on array of over-sized rocks. The unusual piece was well-received by critics. A writer for the Telegraph described it as “heroically peculiar,” a structure that “seems to stand out of time.”
Radic may have been little-known abroad before his Serpentine pavilion, but he has far more acclaim in his native Chile, where he has designed homes, restaurants and a winery. One of his more notable public projects inside Chile is the redesign of the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art in Santiago, housed in what was once a royal customs house. Visiting the museum and wandering the halls of Radic’s freshly reworked space was a chance to indulge my interest in the intersection of art and architecture.
And, like his alien egg, it does not disappoint. The architect has taken a somewhat dour neoclassical building from the late colonial era (c. 1805) and turned it into a remarkable space in which to look at pre-Columbian art. ….