Architecture

Francis Kéré’s High-Design Treehouse in London

For this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, the architect finds inspiration in his West African hometown of Gando.

(Photo: Iwan Baan)

Since its inaugural exhibition in 2000, Serpentine Galleries’ annual Pavilion has doubled as a who’s who of architecture’s contemporary elite, hosting temporary designs from Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Ryue Nishizawa, and Jean Nouvel, to name a few. This year, the gallery’s artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel—with help from David Adjaye and Richard Rogers—welcome another star to its hallowed site in London’s Kensington Gardens: the award-winning architect Francis Kéré.

(Photo: Iwan Baan)

Known for his ecologically focused designs, it’s no surprise that Kéré’s structural concept for the urban setting found its inspiration in nature—specifically, a tree in his hometown of Gando, in West Africa’s Burkina Faso. “I am fascinated by how this artificial landscape offered a new way for people in the city to experience nature,” he says of the wood and steel structure, on view until October 8. Constructed with an open courtyard to allow the free flow of air, the Pavilion doubles as the stage for Serpentine’s Park Nights, where artists working in a range of mediums present site-specific work inspired by Kéré’s design.

 

Below, explore the last 17 years of Serpentine Pavilion designs—with the exception of 2004, when the gallery didn’t assign a commission.

Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs 17
Slideshow
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2000: Zaha Hadid

Photo: Hélène-Binet
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2001: Daniel Libeskind, with Arup

Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2002: Toyo Ito and Cecil Balmond, with Arup

Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2003: Oscar Niemeyer

Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2005: Álvaro Siza, and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, with Arup

Photo: Sylvain Deleu
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2006: Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup

Photo: John Offenbach
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2007: Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen

Photo: Luke Hayes
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2008: Frank Gehry

Photo: John Offenbach
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2009: Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA

Photo: James Newton
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2010: Jean Nouvel

Photo: Philippe Ruault
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2011: Peter Zumthor

Photo: John Offenbach
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2012: Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei

Photo: Luke Hayes
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2013: Sou Fujimoto

Photo: Iwan Baan
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2014: Smiljan Radić

Photo: John Offenbach
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2015: Salgascano

Photo: NAARO
Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2016: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Serpentine Pavilion: 17 Years of Designs

2017: Francis Kéré

Photo: Iwan Baan
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