francis kéré’s 2017 serpentine pavilion is now on display in london’s kensington gardens. the design, which references a tree that serves as a central meeting point in the architect’s home town of gando in burkina faso, is a responsive structure that seeks to connect visitors to both nature and each other. an expansive roof, supported by a central steel framework, mimics the 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. serpentine gallery, london (23 june – 8 october 2017)
© kéré architecture, photography © 2017 iwan baan

 

 

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.


serpentine pavilion 2017, designed by francis kéré. serpentine gallery, london (23 june – 8 october 2017)
© kéré architecture, photography © 2017 iwan baan

 

 

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.’

francis kere serpentine pavilion
the design references a tree that serves as a central meeting point in kéré’s home town of gando
image © designboom

 

 

the architecture is breathing, the walls are open,’ said francis kéré at the press preview of the 2017 serpentine pavilion. ‘the context is simple, I was inspired by the figure of a tree in the landscape. I didn’t want to just build a tree though. I questioned that if you have the chance to work in london, what can you do? the idea with the tree was to create a space that would allow many, many different gatherings, where people can enter from different paths.

francis kere serpentine pavilion
an open air courtyard can be accessed via four separate entry points
image © designboom

 

 

in my culture, blue is an important color to a young man, as well as for the girls, on a first date. I wanted to present myself, my architecture, in blue. it is a great place, and if you have the chance to do something like I have just done here, you always have to show your best side and this is indigo blue. by the way, the walls look like textile but, in fact, it is just wood. natural, traditional materials that we simply used to create this shape and its openness,continued kéré.

francis kere serpentine pavilion
the pavilion will remain on view until october 8, 2017
image © designboom

 

 

light is coming through and it changes wherever you turn,added kéré. ‘we wanted you to still be connected to nature as you enter the pavilion. you will still see the trees when you go inside and with the void, the courtyard, you will have the connection to the sky. in time it will rain – soon, I hope – and you will feel safe and protected by the structure, but you see a waterfall effect in the middle of the pavilion. my team and I wanted to save the water – it is a precious blue that we can celebrate here symbolically, but will be collected and used in the park.

francis kere serpentine pavilion
the structure is surrounded by the greenery of the kensington gardens
image © designboom

 

 

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. the pavilion will remain on view until october 8, 2017.

francis kere serpentine pavilion
the structure will funnel rainwater from the roof to create a waterfall effect
image © designboom

francis kere serpentine pavilion
the pavilion is capable of hosting a wide range of activities
image © designboom


serpentine pavilion 2017, designed by francis kéré. serpentine gallery, london (23 june – 8 october 2017)
© kéré architecture, photography © 2017 iwan baan


francis kéré in front of the 2017 serpentine pavilion 
image © designboom


serpentine pavilion 2017, designed by francis kéré. serpentine gallery, london (23 june – 8 october 2017)
© kéré architecture, photography © 2017 iwan baan

 

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  • Social pleasure and hapiness materialised in a beautiful, vibrant architectural object. Francis Kéré’s Serpentine Pavillion kind is an optimistic, gentle, elegant intersection of two worlds: shelter and gathering in an inspiring innovative approach. A must-visit!

    RICARDO ANTONIO says:

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