ARCHITECTURE: The Serpentine Pavilion 2017 by Francis Kéré

Serpentine Pavilion 2017


BUILDING: Modern Follies, Leipzig, Germany

Back in March 2014 I was fortunate enough to fly over to work with CarverHaggard Architects and the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts to design and build a pavilion to celebrate the schools 250th anniversary. With two of my classmates, we flew over to Leipzig, Germany to construct the pavilion within a week.

_DSC7356_3_940.jpg.620x930_q95The project explores the tension between the sober Beaux-Arts architecture of the adjacent institutions and the critical activism of the current academic and student population.

Designed and built in a collaborative process with the students of the System Design Class at the Academy, the project has injected the courtyard with new life. The arched pavilion provides a space for events and somewhat showcases itself as a marvelous centerpiece. The light bulbs on the front facade illuminate the courtyard in the evening. A mobile stair acts as an auditorium for debates and performances and incorporates an exhibition wall curated by the students in Leipzig. The project and construction process was inspiring and fun, it not only was fantastic to see something through from concept to completion, but also the learn about methods of structure and technique in preparation for the final semester of my degree.

The project was then selected for the exhibition ‘Heart, Allure, and Feeling’ in the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts.

BUILDING: The Electric Light Station, London

Back in 2013 I was part of a team that worked with Islington Exhibits and Islington Council to design and build a temporary pavilion for an arts exhibition in the summer in the summer called the Electric Light Station. Collectively with the aid of CarverHaggard Architects we designed and built the overall structure as a space for other creative minds to display their work throughout the exhibition. The pavilion is made from 2″ x 1″ softwood which is lightweight in section therefore not typically used in structures of this scale therefore it was a real test to construct, ensuring it would stand.


The pavilion explores the layered history of the site and local area, which was historically used both for religious assembly and heavy industry. In the nineteenth century, the first electrical power supplies in London were provided by church vestries, as the precursors to the London Boroughs. This is seen in the former Vestry of St. Mary Electric Lighting Station at the corner of Eden Grove, with its red brick facade and integrated terracotta signage. The structure recalls this local precedent and industrial and religious archetypes, and is designed to create an informal backdrop for public events, and a contemplative interior space with specific qualities of light and sound.