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Sarbalé Ke, Kéré Architecture

House of Celebration: Sarbalé Ke by Kéré Architecture

The expression 'sarbalé ke' means 'house of celebration' in Mòoré, a language spoken in parts of Burkina Faso. Kéré Architecture's contribution to the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is to be understood in this sense.

The concept of the village – a recurring theme in Francis Kéré's architectural understanding – finds expression in Sarbalé Ke, an installation made up of twelve towers that in terms of material, texture and spatial organisation are reminiscent of Gando, where the architect was born. The interior of the 'sarbalé ke' towers evokes the hollow trunks of Burkina Faso's baobab trees, inviting exploration by the festival-goers. Being arranged in radial fashion according to height, the towers also create social spaces and enable visitors to move through them from all directions.

Steel serves as the primary structural element in the 'sarbalé ke' towers. Triangular wood panels form the exterior, their matt surfaces reflecting the sunlight to produce colours reminiscent of the hues that the nearby Coachella mountains take on as the sun moves through the sky.  Once the festival is over, the 'sarbalé ke' towers will be relocated to a permanent site in Coachella's East Valley area, where they will serve as public gathering places.

Further information: 

Architect: Kéré Architecture, Débédo Francis Kéré, Berlin, Germany 

Design team: Johanna Lehmann, Kinan Deeb, Andrea Zaia, Andrea Maretto, Kéré Architecture, Berlin, Germany 

Contributors: N’Faly Ismaël Camara, Olani Ewunnet, Kéré Architecture, Berlin, Germany 

Project Management: Johanna Lehmann (Kéré Architecture), Raffi Lehrer (Goldenvoice) 

Construction: Goldenvoice, Los Angeles, California, United States 

Project Management: Raffi Lehrer, Associate Art Director, Goldenvoice, Los Angeles 

Structural Engineer: Kyle Morris 

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