The Serpentine Pavilion 2017
Last week, we visited the Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens and were delighted to see that it was in our favourite colour - a deep indigo-blue. This year's temporary structure was designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso and is a geometric symphony of wooden triangles and flowing parallel lines that simultaneously invites visitors to shelter from and connect with nature.
Constructed from wooden slats, the pavilion takes an open sweeping circular shape and is roofed by transparent canopy of wood and steel, which offers protection from the rain without blocking off the light from the sky. Kéré took inspiration from a tree in his home town of Gando that serves as a meeting point under which locals can gather and share stories. In reflection of this, the Serpentine Pavilion serves as a relaxing space to encourage visitors to come together and share a sense of community.
Ecology and sustainability underline the architect's work and he has ingeniously designed the roof as funnel, allowing rain fall through the centre of the structure, in the manner of a waterfall, flowing into a drainage system underneath the building, where it is later used to irrigate the surrounding parkland.
While plenty of light filters into the pavilion by day through the curved slatted triangle wall and transparent roof, the same openings allow the pavilion to return the light at night, echoing Kéré's memories of home and his drive to call people to come together:
"In the evening, the canopy becomes a source of illumination. Wall perforations will give glimpses of movement and activity inside the pavilion to those outside. In my home village of Gando (Burkina Faso), it is always easy to locate a celebration at night by climbing to higher ground and searching for the source of light in the surrounding darkness. This small light becomes larger as more and more people arrive to join the event. In this way the Pavilion will become a beacon of light, a symbol of storytelling and togetherness."
Stemming from this concept, The Serpentine Gallery are hosting a series of evening events inside the pavilion, Park Nights. We found the space very soothing and it was a treat to immerse ourselves within such a beautiful piece of design. We would highly recommend a visit this summer if you haven't been. More on The Serpentine Pavilion may be viewed here.