Sankofa Pavilion

Adjaye Associates, Sir David Adjaye
Sankofa Pavilion, 2019
Dichroic and toughened glass, metal, acoustic fabric and wood
Work: 220 x 380 x 380 cm

Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye (b. 1966, Tanzania) and artist Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978, Canada), Sankofa Pavilion is a star-shaped structure constructed from dichroic glass, which selectively allows light to pass through, filtering out certain wavelengths to create an interplay of colours. With glass seating, the pavilion provides a space for intimate conversations and is suitable for indoor or outdoor settings. ‘Sankofa is an Ashanti word for reaching into the past to guide you into your future,’ says Adjaye. ‘As an architect, I was interested to see if we could work within a human tradition of people coming together, using some configuration of space as a device to debate futures or to debate pasts.’ The reflective properties of the glass allow for both a degree of privacy and openness. Kiwanga has complemented the pavilion with sculptural panels made of acoustic fabric stretched onto wood frames, which absorb the sound waves from the conversations. Kiwanga notes, ‘research is being undertaken on fibres that will be able to both record and produce sound. The fabric, formed of woven strands, is already somehow imbued with a past. In the installation, it acts as a kind of witness to the gathering of people inside the pavilion.’