The Summer Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London has become a design highlight designed by the likes of Frank Gehry, Bjarke Ingels, Herzog & de Meuron and the late Zaha Hadid. The Pavilion this year is designed by Francis Kéré, the architect known for his innovative thought-provoking and interactive installations. The Summer Pavilion is a functioning structure in which visitors can sit, order food from the onsite popup food cafe, as well as playing host to a programme of events throughout the season.
Kéré’s structure is a rotund design based on the idea of a tree with the canopy representing the branches and leaves, and in referencing the architect’s African heritage is inspired by a sense of gathering, the tree being a typical meeting place in many African communities, as Kéré says “In my home village of Gando, it is always easy to locate a celebration at night by climbing to higher ground and searching for light in the surrounding darkness. This small light becomes larger as more and more people arrive.” The space will be filled with dappled light courtesy of a steel-framed roof and perforated blue walls that are clad in reclaimed timber salvaged from construction waste, but protected by a clear polycarbonate layer to keep the rain off, given the unpredictable British weather. The materials used are characteristic of Kéré’s focus on sustainability in his buildings, where tries to use local materials where possible.
The main pavilion is accompanied by a series of smaller Summer Houses commissioned from prominent architects and designers, 2016 saw Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi design one of the Houses.
The Summer Pavilion London’s Kensington is a great place to visit, especially when the weather is good.
– Tapiwa Matsinde
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