Diébédo Francis Kéré has been commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2017
The Serpentine Pavilion programme, which began in 2000, sees an architect who has never built in the UK create a temporary summer pavilion in Kensington Gardens.
Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, Sou Fujimoto, SANAA and Bjarke Ingels Group – whose ‘unzipped wall’ structure was visited by more than 250,000 people in 2016 – are among the international architects to have previously taken part.
Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kéré Architecture, has been inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his hometown of Gando. His pavilion will be responsive and connect its visitors to nature. An expansive roof, supported by a central steel framework, will mimic a tree’s canopy, allowing air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London rain and summer heat.
Inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his home town of Gando, in Burkina Faso, 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.”
Located, as usual, in Kensington Gardens, Kéré’s pavilion will be composed of two main parts. An open courtyard will provide seating and a background for meetings and performances. The courtyard will be sheltered by a large roof, made of wood, whose shape resembles that of an inverted parasol.
The roof will be supported by a central “trunk” and will provide shade in sunny days while, along with giving shelter, it will work as a large funnel in rainy ones, collecting water for later use in irrigating the park.