The sacred shelters of Mali in Francis Kéré’s latest pavilion

At Tippet Rise Art Centre in Montana there is a shelter to admire the landscape or meditate inspired by togunas, sanctuaries of Mali.  

Xylem is the new pavilion designed by architect Francis Kéré, inaugurated last weekend at Tippet Rise Art Centre, which opened in 2016 in Fishtail, Montana (USA), on a 12,000-acre area. The centre is a place where art, music, architecture and landscape merge together in a natural environment, a couple of hours away from Yellow Stone National Park. Founded by Cathy and Peter Halstead, both working in arts field, Tippet Rise includes spaces for performances, such as the Oliver Music Barn or the Tiara Acoustic Shell, spaces for relax and encounter, and large scale sculptures by artists Patrick Dougherty, Mark di Suvero, Stephen Talasnik, and Alexander Calder.

Francis Kéré designed Xylem at Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, 2019. Image courtesy of Tippet Rise/Iwan Baan. Photo Iwan Baan

The new pavilion by Kéré is a 195-square meters pavilion, a meeting point for people that offers stunning views on cotton trees or a place to stay peacefully alone. The design is a reference to the traditional togunas of the Dogon culture of Mali, made of wood and millet straw, and the pavilion’s name itself, Xylem, comes from plants: it is a type of transport tissue in vascular plants that brings water from roots to stems and leaves. The pavilion is a shelter that seems to be part of nature thanks to its organic shapes ispired by Cathy Halstead’s abstract paintings and the surrounding landscape. Curved wooden seating areas run around the pavilion, protected by a circular ceiling made of blocks of trunks that give a feeling of movement inside.

Francis Kéré
Tippet Rise Art Centre
Fishtail, Montana, USA

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