francis kéré has been commissioned to build the 2017 serpentine pavilion in london. the design, which references the tree that serves as a central meeting point in kéré’s home town of gando, is a responsive structure that seeks to connect visitors to nature and each other. an expansive roof, supported by a central steel framework, mimics a tree’s canopy, allowing air to circulate freely while offering shelter from both rain and heat. kéré was chosen by serpentine artistic director hans ulrich obrist and CEO yana peel, along with advisors david adjaye and richard rogers.
serpentine pavilion 2017, designed by francis kéré, design render, interior
image © kéré architecture (also main image)
kéré, who leads berlin-based practice kéré architecture, has positioned an open air courtyard at the center of the pavilion, accessed via four separate entry points. rainwater is funneled from the roof to create a waterfall effect, before being evacuated through a drainage system in the floor for irrigation use. by day, the wooden roof and wall system acts as solar shading, while at night, the partitions become illuminated from within.
gando primary school; gando, burkina faso, 2001
image © simeon duchoud
‘as an architect, it is an honor to work in such a grand park, especially knowing the long history of how the gardens evolved and changed into what we see today,’ says francis kéré. ‘every path and tree, and even the serpentine lake, were all carefully designed. I am fascinated by how this artificial landscape offered a new way for people in the city to experience nature. in burkina faso, I am accustomed to being confronted with climate and natural landscape as a harsh reality. for this reason, I was interested in how my contribution to this royal park could not only enhance the visitor’s experience of nature, but also provoke a new way for people to connect with each other.’
national park of mali; bamako, mali, 2010
image © kéré architecture
kéré is the 17th architect to conceive a temporary pavilion for serpentine galleries. the brief for the annual commission, which began in 2000, is to design a 300 square meter structure that can be used as a community hub and café by day, and a forum for learning, debate and entertainment at night. each pavilion is sited on the serpentine gallery’s lawn for four months. last year, bjarke ingels’ ‘unzipped wall’ was visited by more than 250,000 people. this year’s pavilion will host a program of events exploring questions of community and rights to the city, as well as the continuation of the serpentine’s public performance series.
camper pop-up shop at vitra; weil am rhein, germany, 2015 image © vitra
image by eduardo perez
‘we are thrilled to reveal the designs for francis kéré’s pavilion, which highlight the power of simplicity by reducing architecture to its core elements, modeled in harmony with the natural context of royal kensington gardens,’ commented serpentine galleries CEO, yana peel, and artistic director, hans ulrich obrist. ‘this pavilion will be a space of conversation, collaboration and exchange. we share kéré’s belief that architecture, at its best, can enhance our collective creativity and push people to take the future into their own hands.’
portrait of francis kéré
image © erik jan ouwerkerk