Blog Post June 2017 by Wendy Dobing

Posted on June 25, 2017 at 13:48 PM

 Pavilion power

This time last year I visited the Serpentine Pavilion to see a stunning art installation situated outside in Kensington Gardens. The 2016 design featured a very geometric installation with a central focal point. I found out that this commission happens every year so I went to find out what had been chosen to appear this summer. The Serpentine website mentions that since its launch in 2000, the annual commission of an international architect to build his or her first structure in London at the time of invitation has become one of the most anticipated events in the global cultural calendar and a leading visitor attraction during London’s summer season.

Diébédo Francis Kéré is an award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso. His design features a bold, innovative structure that brings a sense of light and life to the lawns of Kensington Gardens.

Diébédo was inspired by a central meeting point in his home town of Gando - a central tree where people would gather together. He has designed the Pavilion to connect visitors to nature, just like the central tree. The design encompasses an expansive roof, supported by a central steel framework, mimicking a tree’s canopy. The framework allows air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London's rain and summer heat.

The design works well with all weathers. On sunny days people can sit in the open air courtyard in the centre. When it rains, an oculus (a round or eye-like opening or design) funnels any water that collects on the roof into a waterfall effect, before it goes through a drainage system in the floor for later use in irrigating the park. Shadows are clearly seen during the day by the wooden structure and at night the walls twinkle as the the light shines through the slashed wood.

I only got to see this structure in the very bright summer sunlight but I have seen photos of the effect with the rain and at night and it looks amazing.

I wonder what will be commissioned next year. I will report back!

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