With the beginning of summer comes the good sunny weather, the nice weather brings people to the parks and those people gather for the opening of the Serpentine Pavilion. Like ice-cream and watermelons, the pavilion is a summer must in London.
Diébédo Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso, has been commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2017, responding to the brief with a bold, innovative structure that brings his characteristic sense of light and life to the lawns of Kensington Gardens.
Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kéré Architecture, is the seventeenth architect to accept the Serpentine Galleries’ invitation to design a temporary Pavilion in its grounds. Since its launch in 2000, this annual commission of an international architect to build his or her first structure in London at the time of invitation has become one of the most anticipated events in the global cultural calendar and a leading visitor attraction during London’s summer season.
"The concept was simple, I was inspired the form of a tree in the landscape" said Keré
Inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his home town of Gando, Francis Kéré has designed a responsive Pavilion that seeks to connect its 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 against London rain and summer heat. The structure is enclosed by curving sections of indigo-coloured wall which has a particular significance for Kéré.
‘In my culture, blue is an important colour 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.
The Pavilion has four separate entry points with an open-air courtyard in the centre, where visitors can sit and relax during sunny days. In the case of rain, an oculus funnels any water that collects on the roof into a spectacular waterfall effect, before it is evacuated through a drainage system on the floor for later use in irrigating the park. Both the roof and wall system are made from wood. By day, they act as solar shading, creating pools of dappled shadows. By night, the walls become a source of illumination as small perforations twinkle with the movement and activity from inside.
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