Diébédo Francis Kére unveils a Serpentine Pavilion celebrating community gathering

Well designed public spaces where we can all meet and come together are the foundation for a healthy society
– Diébédo Francis Kéré

This year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, has been unveiled today (20 June) in London’s Hyde Park.

At a press launch, the architect told CLADglobal that the high-profile commission had given him an “exciting opportunity to explore new ideas, new ways of shaping space, new materials and new way of using materials.”

His pavilion, designed “to bring a sense of light and life” to the park, was inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his hometown of Gando, Burkina Faso.

To mimic the tree’s canopy, Kéré visualised an expansive timber roof supported by a central latticed steel framework, which allows air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London rain and summer heat.

An oculus funnels rainwater collected on the roof to create a waterfall effect into an open courtyard below, which is set above a hidden underground storage tank.

There are four separate entry points into the pavilion, and the structure’s bright indigo walls – formed of inverted wooden triangles – are angled so as to let daylight flood in.

“From the very start, it was always my idea to focus on the figure of the tree in the landscape, and design something around community gathering,” Kéré said. “We really pushed that concept as much as we could.”

The architect, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kéré Architecture, was chosen in part for his commitment to socially engaged and ecological design, and this is reflected in the programme of events taking place in the pavilion, including seminars exploring questions of community and rights to the city.

“Well designed public spaces, where we can all meet and come together, are the foundation for a healthy society,” he told CLADglobal. “The value [such spaces] give to a community cannot be measured by money, which is why it’s very important to think how we can create more.

“It's amazing to see the diversity of people living here in London. It’s amazing if you can have structures that bring them all together.”

In a joint statement, Serpentine artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel described the pavilion as “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,” they added.

Technical consultant David Glover, fabrication firm Stage One and engineers AECOM collaborated with Kéré’s team on the project, which officially opens from 23 June to 8 October.

The Serpentine Pavilion programme, which began in 2000 with a structure created by the late Zaha Hadid, sees an architect who has never built in the UK create a temporary summer pavilion in the park’s Kensington Gardens – next to the Serpentine Galleries art museum.

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.

This year architects were, for the first time, invited to submit their own designs rather than being approached by the leadership of the Serpentine Galleries. The winning design submission was selected by Obrist and Peel, together with advisors Sir David Adjaye and Richard Rogers.

The pavilion's headline supporter is Goldman Sachs, which funded the construction of the project.

Diébédo Francis Kére  Serpentine Pavilion  Serpentine Galleries  architecture  London  Hyde Park  Kensington Gardens  Yana Peel  Hans Ulrich Obrist  
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This year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, has been unveiled today (20 June) in London’s Hyde Park. At a press launch, the architect told CLADglobal that the high-profile commission had given him an “exciting opportunity to explore new ideas, new ways of shaping space, new materials and new way of using materials.” His pavilion, designed “to bring a sense of light and life” to the park, was inspired
CLD,VAT,ARC,DES,PHR
Kére relished the opportunity 'to explore new ideas, new ways of shaping space, new materials and new way of using materials' / Victoria Jones/PA Images
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