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. His pavilion is inspired by a tree that serves as a central meeting point in his hometown of Gando and aims to connect visitors to nature. The design is marked by an expansive roof that mimics a tree canopy and is supported by a central steel framework. The roof, while providing shelter from rain and heat, allows airs to circulate freely.
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.
Take a glimpse at previous years designs to see how these structures have changed the look of the space.
"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.
Kéré's Serpentine Pavilion will be open June 23 to October 8.