The rugged foothills of the Rocky Mountains might seem like a surprising place to find a shelter created by renowned architect Francis Kéré, a Burkina Faso native who is based in Berlin. But last summer the trailblazing talent christened his latest work, Xylem, at Montana’s Tippet Rise Art Center, a 12,000-acre ranch and sculpture park.
Inspired by the gathering huts of his West African homeland—where he has completed a host of schools, housing developments, and medical centers—Kéré conceived the meditative pavilion by bundling locally sourced pine and carving the logs into sinuous forms. “One of the biggest challenges was to build a humble structure that holds its own and even adds to the monumental landscape,” he says.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Kéré Architecture, and in the pipeline are big-ticket projects like the national assembly in Benin, a Goethe Institute in Senegal, and a Waldorf school in Germany.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Spring Issue under the headline Creative Minds. Subscribe to the magazine.