Diebedo Francis Kere the first African architect to undertake the prestigious Serpentine Pavilion unveiled his much-anticipated structure yesterday in London. The project is awarded to a different renowned architect each year. Kéré has built his reputation on socially driven and sustainable approach to architecture.
The Pavilion is a rich indigo blue coloured building supporting a latticed canopy inspired by a type of tree in the village of Burkina Faso, Gando where the architect grew up. This is traditionally used as a central meeting point for the locals. The pavilion has a central courtyard that will become a waterfall when it rains.
The building mimics a tree’s canopy which allows air to circulate while offering shelter against the London weather
“I grew up listening to stories in my village and the blue, here indigo blue, a natural colour, is so important to the culture,” He revealed. “In my village, during the hot day, everyone is gathering under the tree, you have the mothers, the fathers, the elders then the kids,” the Berlin-based architect said.
The pavilion is based on a series of cut out triangles with an expansive roof that is supported by a steel framework. The building mimics a tree’s canopy which allows air to circulate while offering shelter against the London weather, he added.
“I wanted the visitor to come and discover this huge canopy and then go through these enclosing walls to have the light, to be able to see the clouds moving,” explained Kere.
“But at the same time, be protected against the rain and then to feel the element, to feel the wind going through the openings in the walls.”
“I was saying for my career that this will be the biggest celebration I will have,” said the architect. “I hope that everyone will feel invited. I hope to have a great and inclusive summer.”
Diebedo Francis Kere was selected to design this year’s pavilion by Serpentine Gallery directors Hans Obrist and Yana Peel, with the help of architects Richard Rogers and David Adjaye. Previous Pavilion architects including Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry, as well as the team behind the Beijing Birds Nest Olympic Stadium the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
The Serpentine Pavilion will be free to visit and open to the public until 8 October 2017