A touch of Africa has come to London this summer in the form of a spectacular gold and indigo-hued pavilion.
It is designed by Francis Kéré who was inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point in his home village of Gando in Burkina Faso.
The temporary structure stands in the grounds of the Serpentine Galleries in Kensington Gardens as an open invitation for people to gather and mingle in its curved courtyard.
A shimmering roof, supported by a central steel framework, mimics the tree’s canopy, allowing air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London rain and summer heat.
Kéré, a Berlin-based architect of international repute, said his experience of growing up in a remote desert village has instilled in him a strong awareness of the social, sustainable, and cultural implications of design.
The structure, which won this year’s prestigious Serpentine Pavilion commission, was conceived “as a micro cosmos”, a community structure that fuses cultural references of his country with experimental construction techniques.
“In Burkina Faso, the tree is a place where people gather together, where everyday activities play out under the shade of its branches,” he explained.
“I believe that architecture has the power to, surprise, unite, and inspire all while mediating important aspects such as community, ecology and economy.”
Kéré is the latest architect to accept the Serpentine Galleries’ invitation to design a temporary Pavilion in its grounds.
Launched in 2000, the annual commission has become one of the most anticipated events in the global cultural calendar and a leading visitor attraction during London’s summer season.