Best of Year

Francis Kéré's Pavilion at Montana's Tippet Rise Art Center Is Inspired by African Togunas

Tippet Rise occupies 12,000 acres of working ranchland. Photography by Iwan Baan/courtesy of Tippet Rise Art Center.

Forty-thousand linear feet of logs. That’s the amount of felled trees Francis Kéré used for his installation at the Tippet Rise Art Center in southern Montana. The installation, which features a 60-foot diameter roof, took seven months to construct—with the help of 30 architects, designers, engineers, and fabricators led by Kéré. “Xylem merges with the nearby hills but remains unique in this huge landscape,” Kéré says of the project.

Architect Francis Kéré, also founder of the ecologically focused Kéré Foundation, inspects a module’s logs, which were sourced from regional trees that had already been killed by mountain pine beetles. Photography by Emily Rund/Tippet Rise Art Center.

Check out the process of the installation below > 

Sketch rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture.
A polished concrete slab forms the foundation for Xylem, a permanent open-air pavilion by Kéré Architecture at Tippet Rise Art Center, a sculpture park and classical-music venue in Fishtail, Montana. Photography by James Florio/Tippet Rise Art Center.
Untreated lodgepole and ponderosa pine logs, bundled with structural screws and steel-angle bands to form modules, arrive at the construction site following pre-assembly at Gunnstock Timber Frames in Powell, Wyoming. Photography by Emily Rund/Tippet Rise Art Center.
Tippet Rise managing director of operations Pete Hinmon and a structural engineer inspect the roof’s steel armature, which is shaped into hexagons. Photography by James Florio/Tippet Rise Art Center.
Each hexagon’s 10 log modules get installed via crane to have “topography,” or an uneven surface. Photography by Laura Viklund/Tippet Rise Art Center.
Xylem takes design cues from togunas, the sacred congregational structures of the Dogon people in Africa’s Mali and Burkino Faso, where Kéré was born. Photography by Iwan Baan/courtesy of Tippet Rise Art Center.
For concerts by such musicians as cellist Roman Borys and violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon, guests sit on benches of the same wood inspired by the abstract paintings of microscopic life by Tippet Rise co-founder Cathy Halstead. Photography by Iwan Baan/courtesy of Tippet Rise Art Center.
The name of the 2,760-square-foot pavilion is borrowed from the term for plant vascular tissue. Photography by Iwan Baan/courtesy of Tippet Rise Art Center.

> See more from the August 2019 issue of Docservis

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