Smiljan Radic: A Rock Star Among Architects

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Smiljan Radic: A Rock Star Among Architects
Another view of the VIK winery/© Cristobal Palma

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Smiljan Radic: A Rock Star Among Architects
Another view of the VIK winery/© Cristobal Palma

Two weeks ago, a translucent pod of glass-reinforced plastic, poised atop enormous sandstone boulders, appeared on a curve of lawn in Kensington Gardens in London. The folly, which one reviewer called “a collision between an extraterrestrial egg and a Neolithic burial site,” is by the Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, whom the nearby Serpentine Galleries chose to create a temporary structure in its front yard. It is the 14th year that the museum has commissioned a Serpentine Pavilion, always turning to an architect who has not previously built in Britain, and the unveiling of the park installation has become a closely watched summer ritual.

Although the project has thrust him onto the international stage, Mr. Radic, 49, has spent most of his career in his native land, quietly building a diverse body of intriguing work reflecting his interest in form, material and meaning. His House for the Poem of the Right Angle, evoking Le Corbusier’s writings, has truncated cones poking from the roof framing views of the treetops. Another residence is clad in copper panels. For the Mestizo restaurant in Santiago, he used granite boulders as columns to support a flat, black concrete roof.

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