Born in the village of Gando in Burkina Faso, Diébédo Francis Kéré is known for his sustainable, community-centered approach to architecture. His award-winning work spans the globe and includes the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens and a large-scale sculptural installation at the 2019 Coachella Festival. As a student at the Technical University of Berlin, he established the Kéré Foundation to help improve the lives of people in West Africa by building community infrastructures to support them. At Tippet Rise, Kéré has created a 1,900 square-foot pavilion called Xylem.
Details of Xylem (2018-08-03) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Xylem is named for the vascular tissue in plants that conducts water and dissolved nutrients upward from the roots.
Designing Xylem (2018-04-18) by Emily Rund, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Francis inspects Xylem's canopy.
Much of Xylem's construction took place in the winter.
Installing the First Bundle
Locally and sustainably-sourced ponderosa and lodgepole pine were used to create the pavilion.
Xylem in the Spring (2019-05-15) by Emily Rund, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Xylem is nestled in a grove of cottonwood and aspen trees, on the bank of Grove Creek at the edge of the art center's main campus.
Francis Kéré's pavilions are recognized globally for their debt to African vernacular architecture and their relationship to the sites they inhabit.
Guests Under Xylem (2019-07-06) by Emily Rund, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The seating elements’ organic shapes are inspired in part by abstract paintings that artist and Tippet Rise co-founder Cathy Halstead created based on forms of microscopic life.
Sheep Grazing by Xylem (2019-08-24) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
"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 structures rooted deeply in the experience of land and sky."
-Tippet Rise co-founders Peter and Cathy Halstead
Xylem Opening Celebration (2019-07-13) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Francis and his team gathered with Peter and Cathy Halstead and our extended community of staff and friends to celebrate Xylem's opening, after two years in the imagining and the making, on a beautiful afternoon in mid-July, 2019.
Xylem from Above (2019-08-03) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Xylem is the first site-specific commission to be added to the art center’s collection since Tippet Rise opened in 2016.
Xylem serves as a place for music making, script reading, picnicking, and, often, solitude: a place to take in the pavilion and enjoy the beauty of the day and the sounds of nature.
Ensemble Connect Performance at Xylem (2019-08-24) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
It also serves as a place for music making. Here, James Austin Smith, Sauenn Thorsteinsdottir, Nathan Schramm, and Jennifer Fraustchi perform.
Xylem (2019-07-06) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Scroll around this image for a wider look at the inside of the pavilion.
Xylem (2019-07-06) by Emily Rund, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
The pavilion is an evolution of Kéré’s celebrated 2015 canopy structure for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art near Copenhagen and of his 2017 Serpentine Pavilion in London.
Xylem (2019-08-03) by Erik Petersen, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Xylem's canopy-like roof of vertical logs filter the sunlight.
Autumn Snow at Xylem (2019-10-10) by James Florio, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Xylem'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.
First Snow on Xylem (2019-10-10) by James Florio, PhotographerTippet Rise Art Center
Xylem's canopy, from above.
Photography by: Erik Petersen, James Florio, Emily Rund
Writing by: Alexis Adams
Exhibit by: Emily Rund, Sarah Lanier
Sculpture by: Ensamble Studio
Managing Director, Programs
Communications and Administration Manager
Filmmaker and Production Coordinator
Managing Director, Operations
Peter & Cathy Halstead
Co-Founders of Tippet Rise