Kensington Gardens, London hosts Serpentine Pavillion 2017 designed by architect Diébédo Francis Kéré
Berlin-based architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has designed a bold, light-filled structure to serve as the next Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens
African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been chosen to design the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion located in London’s Kensington Gardens. The Burkina Faso-born architect is the 17th architect to take on the task of designing a temporary structure on the grounds of the Serpentine Galleries. Inspired by a tree that serves as a central meeting point in his hometown of Gand, Kéré aims to connect visitors to nature and provide a space for community bonding. Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion will be open from June 23 to October 8.
The design is marked by an expansive wooden roof that mimics a tree canopy and is supported by a central intricate steel framework. Enclosed by several curving blue walls as well as wooden blocks in a tessellated pattern, the design is reminiscent of textiles worn by young men from Kéré’s village. The roof, while providing shelter from rain, allows airs to circulate freely, providing shade on sunnier afternoons.
Kéré makes the British climate a central element of his design, with a structure that engages with London’s ever-changing weather. An open air courtyard in the center invites visitors to sit on sunny days; when rain strikes, an oculus funnels water that collects on the roof to create a waterfall effects. The roof and the wall system are made from wood and create dappled shadows by day, while by night the structure is illuminated as small perforations light up with the activity inside the pavilion.
“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,” said Kéré.
Kéré follows on from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in designing the pavilion. BIG’s “unzipped wall” structure was visited by more than 250,000 people last year. In the new pavilion, the Serpentine will continue its public performance series, Park Nights, as well as hosting a program of events focusing on questions of community and rights to the city, inspired by Kéré’s commitment to socially engaged and ecological design.
Since 2000, Serpentine Galleries have been commissioning architects to create its pavilion each year, providing a chance for these usually international architects to create their first structure in England.
For more information, visit Serpentine Galleries.