The exhibition “Primary Elements” on display at Museo ICO in Madrid and curated by Luis Fernández-Galiano links Kéré’s work with the primary elements of Architecture as described by German architect and scholar Gottfried Semper in the 19th century: the stereotomic floor, the tectonic roof, and the textile wall.
The exhibition is divided into three floors, each representing a different aspect of Kéré’s work. Visitors are welcome in a hall that recreates the Gando Library with a play of light and sounds introducing them to sensory sensations Kéré aims to transmit. Then a labyrinth takes the visitor through 27 of Kéré Architecture’s projects. There the visitor is able to learn more about the projects through both the explanatory texts and small-scale models brought in from the Berlin office for the exhibition.
On the second floor, Semper’s primary elements have been recreated at a large scale using similar techniques Kéré Architecture uses in their building. A textile wall made from fabric brought from Burkina Faso guides the visitor towards an adobe wall and platform (built by the 23 students of the “Arquitectura con tierra” workshop held in Boceguillas, Segovia in July 2018, and specially organised for this exhibition by the ICO Foundation, the Centro de Investigación en Arquitectura Tradicional (CIAT), the Superior Technical School of Architecture of Madrid (ETSAM), Fundación General of the Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Town Hall of Boceguillas). The adobe wall then leads the visitor towards the small-scale reproduction of the Serpentine Pavilion constructed in London in 2017. The succession of walls represents the evolution and process Kéré went through when designing the pavilion’s walls. A concrete platform and a wooden platform (a reproduction of the Louisiana Canopy created by Kéré in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, in 2015), all covered with the Serpentine Pavilion’s roof complete the primary elements giving the visitor a deeper understanding of Kéré’s architecture. Large-scale photographs of the office most emblematic projects and a projection about how traditional techniques are used in the construction processes complete this room.
The exhibition journey ends on the third floor where the workspace of the Kéré Architecture studio in Berlin has been reproduced. A selection of various samples of construction materials and work models from the studio’s workshop are on display for the visitor to look at. In this room photographs of six artistic installations designed by Kéré in other institutions along with information about the Kéré Foundation e.V., and several publications are exposed for the visitor to peruse through. Finally, two short films by Candida Richardson (Sensing Spaces. Architecture Reimagined. Diébédo Francis Kéré and Serpentine Pavilion) are projected and visitors can watch them while seated in chairs identical to the ones Kéré designed for Lycée Schorge.
With this exhibition, the visitor gets a unique insight into Kéré’s work of the past thirteen years, while also understanding the importance of material and construction process in a variety of projects.
STATUS: Temporary Exhibition
SITE: Museo ICO, Madrid/ Spain
SIZE: 590 m2
CLIENT: Museo ICO