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Serpentine Pavilion 2017, Designed by Francis Kéré, Design Render, Exterior ©Kéré Architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2017, Designed by Francis Kéré, Design Render, Exterior ©Kéré Architecture
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Don't Miss Award-Winning African Architect Francis Kéré's Serpentine Pavilion 2017

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 28 September 2017
Since 2000, the lawn in front of the Serpentine Gallery has been transformed by a temporary pavilion designed by an invited international architect. This year, Diébédo Francis Kéré is the first African architect to take up this coveted mantle.

‘As an architect, it is an honour to work in such a grand park, especially knowing the long history of how the gardens evolved and changed into what we see today,’ said the Berlin-based architect on creating his first London commission in Kensington Garden. ‘I am fascinated by how this artificial landscape offered a new way for people in the city to experience nature.’

Serpentine Pavilion 2017, Designed by Francis Kéré, Design Render, Interior © Kéré Architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2017, Designed by Francis Kéré, Design Render, Interior | © Kéré Architecture

Considering the pavilion’s leafy location and multi-purpose use, Kéré’s design is directly inspired by a tree from his home town of Gando, Burkina Faso, which is used as a meeting point. Taking on the form of a tree’s canopy, the wooden and metal structure will provide shelter from both London’s sun and inevitable rain.

An open design means it’s easily adaptable to evening events like the Serpentine’s Park Nights performance series as well as the ideal location to whilie away the day at the café.

Serpentine Pavilion 2017, Designed by Francis Kéré, Design Render, Exterior ©Kéré Architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2017, Designed by Francis Kéré, Design Render, Exterior | ©Kéré Architecture

Kéré, who leads the firm Kéré Architecture, was picked for his dynamic practice that challenges the boundaries of design. Committed to socially-engaged and ecological architecture, Kéré is used to tackling the harsh climate and landscape of Burkina Faso, where he built an award-winning primary school.

Gando Primary School; Gando, Burkina Faso, 2001 © Simeon Duchoud
Gando Primary School; Gando, Burkina Faso, 2001 | © Simeon Duchoud

But his focus on the importance of community is present in all his designs. He creates spaces that encourage interaction: ‘This Pavilion will be a space of conversation, collaboration and exchange,’ said Serpentine Galleries CEO, Yana Peel, and Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist. ‘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.’

Camper Pop-up Shop at Vitra; Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2015 © Vitra. Photo Eduardo Perez
Camper Pop-up Shop at Vitra; Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2015 | © Vitra. Photo Eduardo Perez
Camper Pop-up Shop at Vitra; Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2015 © Vitra. Photography by Eduardo Perez
Camper Pop-up Shop at Vitra; Weil am Rhein, Germany, 2015 | © Vitra. Photography by Eduardo Perez

Serpentine Pavilion 2017 designed by Francis Kéré is at Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA from June 23 to November 19 2017.