Tippet Rise Art Center has announced the commissioning of architect Francis Kéré to design a 1,900-square-foot pavilion for the center’s 10,000-acre grounds in Montana, USA. Envisioned as a “communal gathering space nestled among a cluster of aspen and cottonwood trees,” new renderings by Kéré Architecture depict the scheme featuring a locally-sourced log canopy.
The scheme was inspired by the traditional “togunas” of Mali’s Dogon culture, featuring sacred shelters with wooden pillars, and layers of wood and millet straw to form a roof. In tandem with the pavilion’s construction, the Tippet Rise Fund and Sidney E. Frank Foundation are also supporting the construction of Francis Kéré’s newly-designed school in Burkina Faso, inspired by the architect’s dedication to sustainability, and scheduled to be completed in 2019.
The Tippet RisePavilion consists of ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine logs, arranged in a round structure to create a “rain of light” effect, and sitting across the path of a circular bridge spanning an adjacent stream. The bridge features a number of seating areas positioned to accentuate views across the water, meadows, and hills, while sensitively touching the ground at only two points.
The pavilion also features strategically-orientated seating beneath the canopy, where visitors can “gather quietly to converse or contemplate the views or climb onto a platform sculpted on top of the canopy to observe the landscape through the leaves.” The form of the seating area was inspired by a series of paintings created by Tippet Rise co-founder Cathy Halstead based on the lyrical, abstract forms of microscopic life, communicated through the irregular looping of the pavilion’s seating.
Standing on the high meadow of Tippet Rise Art Center, looking out at the mountains under a vast sky, people can face nature at its widest scale. But with this pavilion, Tippet Rise offers a more intimate experience of its landscape within a quiet shelter, where people can access the most secret part of nature: the heart of the trees. I am honored that Peter and Cathy Halstead have invited me to contribute to their magnificent Art Center, and I am deeply grateful for their generosity in linking the creation of this pavilion to the construction of a new school in my home of Burkina Faso. -Francis Kéré, Founder, Kéré Architecture
What do Frederic Chopin, Alexander Calder and Montana’s Bear Tooth Mountains have in common? A long summer day at Tippet Rise Art Center seeks to make the connections audible, visible, tangible. Founded by philanthropists and artists Cathy and Peter Halstead and inaugurated in June 2016, Tippet Rise began as-and largely remains-a working ranch.