Kéré Architecture Kéré Architecture

Royal Academy of Arts Sensing Spaces Pavilion

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With a focus towards exploring the experiential qualities of architecture, the Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined exhibition enlisted architects such as Kengo Kuma, Álvaro Siza, and Eduardo Souto de Moura to produce site-specific installations at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.  

In order to provoke a more direct encounter with materials, light and space, Francis Kéré sought to disrupt the perceived barrier between architectural form and the viewer by creating an interactive environment.

The pavilion consisted of 34 overlapping arches made of translucent honeycomb sheets, a widely available and often overlooked building material which reflected the industrialized nature of London. Creating a cavernous tunnel-like condition from one room to another, the Pavilion highlighted an area of a building which is normally ignored: the doorway. The light-diffusing qualities of the material imparted an ethereal effect, while the perforated structure of the honeycomb became a medium for visitors to manipulate.

Upon entering the space, visitors where given access to multi-colored drinking straws which could then be inserted at any part of the Pavilion’s surface. By encouraging people to participate in the architecture, the experience becomes less about a personal visual understanding and more about communal interactions and aesthetic negotiations. As more visitors passed through and interacted with the Pavilion, more straws began to accumulate on the interior and exterior. As the walls became filled with colorful straws, the interior space began to dim and constrict. In this way, the Pavilion itself became a record of the countless interactions and encounters happening in the space.

A series of limited edition furniture pieces made of honeycomb plastic sheet and local timber provided areas for visitors to relax and contemplate the activities of the Pavilion.

Sensing Spaces: Diébédo Francis Kéré from Royal Academy of Arts on Vimeo. Videography by Candida Richardson


STATUS: Temporary Exhibition 
SITE: Royal Academy of Arts / London / United Kingdom

SIZE: 45
CLIENT: Royal Academy of Arts