View all news

Excavators break ground for Francis Kéré pavilion at Tippet Rise

January 10, 2019

This morning at Tippet Rise, local excavators broke ground for the construction of a new pavilion designed by the world-renowned architect Francis Kéré. The 2,100-square-foot gathering place will be nestled in a grove of aspen and cottonwood trees between the Olivier Music Barn and Daydreams, the willow-infused schoolhouse created by sculptor Patrick Dougherty. The pavilion’s design is inspired by the traditional togunas of the Dogon culture of Mali: sacred shelters with wooden pillars, carved with ornaments representing the ancestors. The toguna’s layered roof of wood and millet straw allows for protection from the sun as well as ventilation within the space beneath. Tippet Rise’s pavilion will be constructed of locally and sustainably sourced ponderosa and lodgepole pine, and features a canopy of vertical logs, which create what Kéré calls a “rain of light” effect above the seating areas. The organic shapes of the seating elements are inspired in part by abstract paintings that artist and Tippet Rise co-founder Cathy Halstead created based on the forms of microscopic life, in addition to the sinuous topography of the surrounding hills.

In keeping with the educational mission of Tippet Rise, the Tippet Rise Fund of the Sidney E. Frank Foundation is also supporting Francis in his work to build environmentally sustainable and climatically appropriate schools in West Africa, funding the construction of a new school he has designed in his birthplace, the village of Gando in Burkina Faso. Also scheduled for completion in the summer of 2019, the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School is designed to accommodate approximately 1,000 students from the grassy savanna region that surrounds Gando. More details about the school, which is named for Francis Kéré’s father, are available by clicking the link below. We are thrilled to be able to link the creation of the pavilion at Tippet Rise to the school in Burkina Faso, as a way of bonding our two communities.

About these projects, Cathy and Peter Halstead said, “At Tippet Rise, we want the buildings to have the material and formal integrity of sculptures and the sculptures to have the scale and presence of architecture, with both kinds of structure rooted deeply in the experience of land and sky. That’s why, from the first time we encountered Francis Kéré’s enthralling work, we knew his architecture would be perfect for Tippet Rise, and that we wanted to support his wonderful philanthropic initiative in West Africa. We are eager to welcome our visitors to Tippet Rise again this summer, when they will be able to explore the landscape beyond the Olivier Music Barn, and gather in the light-dappled, contemplative space down by the stream that Francis has created.”

We look forward to welcoming you to explore the pavilion this summer!