A UFO IN KENSINGTON GARDENS
Architect Francis Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion resembles a rustic flying saucer that’s landed direct from his home nation of Burkina Faso in central London’s Kensington Gardens. Kéré is the first African architect to win the commission, following the likes of Zaha Hadid and Ai Wei Wei, among others before him.
His structure is bold and innovative, bright and full of life. Inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his hometown of Gando, a huge disc of spindly wooden slats hovers over a gathering space enclosed by curving blue walls, built of staggered wooden blocks that reference traditional textile patterns. Wondrously, the pavilion is responsive in that it mimics the tree’s canopy, letting air circulate freely while offering both shelter against London rain and summer heat. Check it out.
Until October 8, serpentinegalleries.org