He came up with the idea of making an architectural version of a big tree in Gando, where people could gather in its perforated shade. Its structure is a festival of triangles, with curved walls beneath the orange-ish roof in complementary deep blue. The design has a lot to do with weather, which – as the pavilion opened in last week’s African temperatures, but will remain until 8 October – could be many things. Spreading from a central ellipse of steel supports, a layered canopy of timber and translucent polycarbonate filters the sunshine. The blue, curving walls provide degrees of breeziness and shelter from the wind. Rainwater, something which Kéré thinks the British appreciate too little – “you don’t know what you have” – will slosh from the canopy into a central void formed between the supports, at speed and with volume, to make temporary elliptical waterfalls. That is mostly it, bar a few other touches. The deep blue, for example, is a colour worn in Burkina Faso on special occasions and to impress, when going on a date, or some other time when “you go to meet your dream”. The walls, made of stacked triangular assemblies of simple timber sections, are meant to have the look of a textile. But, despite Kéré’s talk of being awed by his predecessors, this is a Serpentine Pavilion that (unusually for the genre) doesn’t try too hard. It provides congenial places for gathering and pausing. It improves the climate. It nicely collages with the lush greenery around. Its shapes and colours have a simple, direct appeal. It is well made. It feels less lavish than previous pavilions, some of which benefited from large donations of building products from their manufacturers. It breathes.
Source: Serpentine pavilion 2017: Francis Kéré’s cool shades of Africa | Art and design | The Guardian