Diébédo Francis Kéré

Diébédo Francis Kéré (born 10 April 1965) is a Burkinabé-German[1] architect, recognized for creating innovative works that are often sustainable and collaborative in nature.[2] In 2022, he became the first African to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.[3] Educated at the Technical University of Berlin, he has lived in Berlin since 1985. Parallel to his studies, he established the Kéré Foundation (formerly Schulbausteine für Gando), and in 2005 he founded Kéré Architecture. His architectural practice has been recognized internationally with awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2004) for his first building, the Gando Primary School in Burkina Faso, and the Global Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction 2012 Gold.

Diébédo Francis Kéré
Born (1965-04-10) 10 April 1965 (age 58)
Gando, Boulgou Province, Upper Volta (modern Burkina Faso)
NationalityBurkinabè, German[1]
Alma materTechnical University of Berlin
AwardsPritzker Architecture Prize
Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Global Award for Sustainable Architecture
PracticeKéré Architecture
BuildingsGando Primary School
Gando School Extension
ProjectsGando Secondary School
Opera Village

Kéré has undertaken projects in various countries including Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Togo, Sudan, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the US, and the UK.[4] In 2017 the Serpentine Galleries commissioned him to design the Serpentine Pavilion in London. He has held professorships at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale School of Architecture and the Swiss Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio. In 2017 he accepted the professorship for "Architectural Design and Participation" at the Technical University of Munich.

In 2022, he won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the first person from Africa and the first Black person to do so.[2][5]

Early life and education Edit

Kéré was born in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso. He was the first child in the village to be sent to school as his father, the village chief, wanted his eldest son to learn how to read and translate his letters. Since no school existed in Gando, Kéré had to leave his family when he was 7 years old to live with his uncle in the city. After finishing his education, he became a carpenter and received a scholarship from the Carl Duisberg Society to do an apprenticeship in Germany as a supervisor in development aid. After completing the apprenticeship, he went on to study architecture at the Technical University of Berlin, graduating in 2004.[4]

During his studies he felt it was his duty to contribute to his family and to the community which had supported him, and to give the next generation the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. In 1998, with the help of his friends, Kéré set up the association Schulbausteine für Gando e.V. (now Kéré Foundation), which loosely translates as "Building Blocks for Gando", to fund the construction of a primary school for his village. His objective was to combine the knowledge he had gained in Europe, with traditional building methods from Burkina Faso. He completed his studies and built the first school in Gando as his diploma project in 2004, while also opening his own architectural office Kéré Architecture.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Career Edit

Kéré is known for involving community in his projects and for his innovative use of vernacular materials and techniques.[12][11]

Teaching Edit

Kéré has worked as a lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin. In spring 2011, he lectured at Virginia Tech, Washington University, and the University of Texas. The following summer he lectured at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and in autumn 2012 he was a visiting professor at Harvard. He also taught at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio. Kéré accepted a newly created professorship for Architectural design and Participation at the Technical University of Munich in 2017. He was awarded a visiting professorship at the Yale School of Architecture. In 2021 Kéré took a position as guest professor at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.[13]

Architecture and design projects in Gando Edit

Gando, Burkina Faso

Kéré began working to design a school for his home village of Gando while he was enrolled at the Technical University of Berlin.[14] The collaborative processes Kéré developed with Gando inhabitants and the innovative, local and ecological techniques and materials they created led Kéré to receive a Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2009.[15]

Kéré's architecture was conceived of and built with the help of village inhabitants. The village, located south east of Ouagadougou, has approximately 3000 inhabitants who live in mud huts without access to running water or electricity. According to the UN Human Development Index in 2011, Burkina Faso is the 7th least developed country in the world. Most residents are subsistence farmers, remaining dependent on the harsh climate which has restricted rainfall between October and June, and high daytime temperatures of 45 °C.

Gando Primary School Edit

Primary School in Gando

Kéré's primary school, the first for Gando, was completed in 2001. Schools in Burkina Faso are routinely built out of concrete, an expensive and energy consumptive material to produce, ill-suited to the local climate, as the interior becomes intolerably hot. Kéré wanted to use locally available resources and chose to build with earth in the form of mud bricks. Kéré's innovative design consisted of a wide, raised tin roof to protect the walls from rain, and allow air to circulate underneath for building cooling. The finished building was cooler and more pleasant inside than with the conventional concrete school buildings. Kéré's design is renowned throughout Burkina Faso. He won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004.[16]

Kéré drew preliminary building plans in the sand to communicate with villagers, (many of whom were illiterate) and found they fully engaged with the project, with many generating their own suggestions for improvement. Kéré said, “Only those who are involved in the development process can appreciate the results achieved, develop them further and protect them”.[17]

The entire population of Gando took part in the construction of the school. Village members received on-site training in construction techniques. Neighboring villages, impressed by Gando's community's organization and achievement, set out to build their own schools.[18]

Gando Mango Tree Project Edit

Kéré initiated a project of planting mango trees to better meet the communities needs. The project aimed to address several major problems in the region including malnutrition. The main staple is “foufou”, or pounded and boiled millet which contains few vitamins. The mangoes provide vitamins and nourishment and the mango trees provide areas with shade in an environment where daytime temperatures often reach 40 °C.

Due to population growth and depletion of trees for firewood, Burkina Faso has lost 60% of its trees in the last 15 years. Trees provide shade, protect the soil from erosion, stop desertification and regulate the groundwater regime. In addition to this, trees contribute to soil fertility, and to biodiversity in that they provide a habitat for many species. Many plants and saplings are unable to survive the hot and dry climate and the severe shortage of rain. Other are destroyed by termites. Pesticides and fertilizer are both prohibitively expensive and damaging to the environment. Kéré developed a strategy to address these shortfalls. Prior to planting the tree, a hole is filled with old bones and meat, and left for a few days. Over time, the bones and meat attract ants, which colonize the hole and eat the termites. This enables the trees to grow without needing any insecticide. For natural fertilizer, chickens are kept in the shade of the trees.

Kéré had residents place hand-made clay pots next to the trees, with drippers targeted directly to the roots, which gave the trees a small but constant supply of water. The clay pots prevent evaporation loss and only need to be filled once a week.

Gando Secondary School Edit

Secondary school in Gando

Construction of a secondary school designed by Kéré began in May 2011. The new building complex was designed to accommodate approximately 1000 students. The layout is inspired by the traditional rural households in Burkina Faso: the classrooms are set out in a circular fashion forming a protected courtyard, shielding it from the dust and sand brought by the Harmattan winds. The structure is open on its West side, allowing a cool breeze to enter the area, an innovative air-cooling system using only natural ventilation. The school is surrounded by a bank of earth, on which trees are planted. The trees provide shade, and rainwater is gathered to provide them with water. Perforated pipes are laid underneath the earth banks, and gather moisture. Wind cools down as it blows through the pipes, and emerges in the classrooms through holes in the floor, providing a zero emissions under-floor cooling system. This design won the 2012 Global Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction Gold.[4]

The secondary school uses the same roof design as the primary school, with a wide corrugated iron roof raised above a clay ceiling. Air circulates between ceiling and roof, heats up and rises, creating a suction current below. This causes the cool air from the under-floor pipes to rise, reducing room temperature by an estimated 6 – 8 °C. With simple yet effective methods such as these, the school requires little electricity both in construction and maintenance.

Burkina Faso's expanding population and the predominant use of firewood as fuel have resulted in major deforestation problems. An estimated 60% of the countries trees have been chopped down in the last 15 years. Worse, reforestation programmes often plant eucalyptus trees which grow easily and quickly, but soak up vast amounts of groundwater at the expense of local agriculture.

In order to combat this problem, the secondary school uses wood from eucalyptus trees for construction, and mango trees are planted in their place. The mango trees need less water, produce fruit and provide more shade than eucalyptus trees, and the pupils make use of them during breaks.

As with his other projects, the secondary school uses local manpower for construction. Specialists trained by Francis Kéré supervise members of the local community, training them in the necessary building techniques. Rather than building the walls brick by brick, Kéré has devised a way of pouring mud and a small quantity of cement into a mould, which is much quicker. This skills transfer enables the villagers to replicate the building design, and encourages them to adopt sustainable methods rather than the usual concrete option.

Atelier Gando Edit

Developed in 2014, the Atelier is a building which functions as a community center and on-site base for building projects. A group of students from the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio helped Kéré plan and build the first steps of the construction.[19]

Other architecture and design projects Edit

Dano Secondary School Edit

Secondary school in Dano, Burkina Faso

The secondary school project in Dano, Burkina Faso was inspired by Kéré's previous work in Gando. The excessive daytime heat was once again the major issue, but this time there were different local resources. Laterite stone, native to the region, was used as the main building material. The building was set at an east–west orientation which reduces direct solar radiation onto the walls, and the sharply protruding roof creates a lot of shade. The roof design with its system of natural ventilation allows the air to circulate between the mud brick ceiling and the raised tin roof. The building consists of three classrooms, a computer room and an office. There is also an amphitheatre designed for use during break times. Finished in 2007, the building work was largely done by people trained in the Gando school projects, giving them the opportunity to use and develop their skills, while also reducing construction costs.

Centre for Earth Architecture, Mopti Edit

Centre for Earth Architecture in Mopti, Mali

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has spent over 10 years renovating mosques in Northern Mali. Finished in 2010, the Centre for Earth Architecture in Mopti is part of this series of projects, following the restoration of the mosque and the construction of a new sewerage system. The centre is intended to be much more than an exhibition space: the building is the product of the same ancient building techniques used in the Great Mosques in Mopti, Timbuktu and Djenné. It demonstrates how a material that is a part of the area's heritage can be used in a modern context. The centre is made up of an exhibition hall, a community centre, public toilets and a restaurant, responding to the needs of the district management of Komoguel and visitors to the area, as well as the local community.

From the top of the flood barrier you can see that the building is aligned with the mosque. The building has a simple structure and its height corresponds to the neighbouring buildings without compromising the view of the mosque. When viewed from across the lake the Centre manages to maintain a connection with the mosque but does not dominate the view.

The centre is divided into three different buildings which are connected by two roof surfaces. Clay for the building was brought from 5 km away, so that the red colour would contrast with the colour of the local buildings, which are all made using traditional mud construction. The rusty red colour of the laterite clay is due to its high iron oxide content. All the walls and barrel vaults in the centre are made out of BTC (compressed earth blocks) and are not plastered or painted. These are very well suited to the climatic conditions as they create a natural temperature buffer, making indoor temperatures much more comfortable. The overhanging roof blocks keep the walls cool and provide shaded outdoor spaces. The building is naturally ventilated through openings in the walls and vaults, therefore mechanical air-conditioning is not needed. Most vernacular buildings in Mopti have wooden ceilings filled with clay. Kéré used a new system in this building that involves no wood – BTC vaults. He wants to promote the use of clay but to be sparing in his use of wood, as deforestation is a huge environmental issue in Mali.

Opera Village Edit

Construction of the Remdoogo Opera Village in Laongo, Burkina Faso

The project “Opera House for Africa” was initiated by German film and theatre director Christoph Schlingensief. Schlingensief brought Kéré on board to developed a housing prototype for people affected by flooding. The opera village “Remdoogo” was constructed on a 12-hectare site on a little rise in Laongo, one hour's drive from Ougadougou and overlooking the West African landscape of the Sahel. A festival theatre, workshops, medical centre and guest houses were designed, as well as solar panels, a well and a school for up to 500 children and teenagers with music and film classes. The stage and auditorium were designed and constructed in Germany and later transferred to the Opera village. Kéré used Burkinabe fabrics to cover seat rows and interior walls.

Simple basic modules, which vary in quality and function depending on the equipment they house, comprise the entire village. Local people were employed to build the modules, and local materials such as clay, laterite, cement bricks, gum wood and loam rendering were used for construction. For reinforcing elements such as beams, columns, ring-beams and foundations, concrete was used. Due to the massive walls and large overhang of the roofs, air conditioning could be discounted in most buildings. The theatre hall was conceived as a place of encounter and exchange for people of different cultural and family backgrounds.[20]

Zhoushan Harbour Development, China Edit

The archipelago of Zhoushan in China is the site of an experimental urban rehabilitation project, led by the architect Wang Shu. Zhoushan is the Chinese capital of fishing, as it is situated at the entrance of the delta of the Yang Tsé, and has a population of around one million. The aim of this project, started in 2009, was to transform the industrial harbour area, Putuo, into a touristic and cultural district. The architecture was designed to maintain a dialogue between modernity and the area's history and heritage. Sited on an island about 300 metres from the mainland, the chosen plot of land contains a dense assortment of buildings, docks and warehouses, built over several decades.

Kéré designed an exhibition gallery, an information centre, artists’ studios and a “cultural creativity garden” for the area. The scheme is designed around a platform that extends across the site all the way to the mountain, which borders the site to the west. This will serve as a space of transition between the man-made environment of the developed district and the natural environment beyond.

The best possible level of transparency is achieved by means of floor-to-ceiling glass elements. Sunlight gets into the rooms and there are unlimited views over the entire site. The southern and eastern facades are particularly exposed to the sun in summertime. Bamboo poles serve as exterior shades characterised by their natural irregular structure. Wood panels alternate with glass elements, thus the needs for both transparency and solar protection are met.

Medical Centre, Léoss Edit

In 2012, Kéré Architecture embarked on a new project to build a medical centre in Léo. Léo is a town in Sicily Province in Burkina Faso situated near the border with Ghana, around 150 kilometres south of the capital city, Ouagadougou. The population of Léo is 50,000, but the medical centre will also serve the villages in the surrounding countryside. A high staff turnover rate and lack of smaller, local clinics mean that the district hospital is often overstretched and struggles to serve the whole community. The charity “Operieren in Afrika” decided to raise funds to build a medical clinic in Léo for small, simple operations. They will provide scholarships to trained doctors and nurses to staff the clinic, which will maintain a connection with Germany.

As the project had limited funding, Kéré Architecture used pre-planned modules as the basis for the project. As in the Gando secondary school, the walls were constructed from cast earth and the roofs from the tin. The modules are arranged so that their roofs overlap, in order to provide more shade. In the final phase of the design, the space between the modules has become interior space. The “corridor” of space between the rows of modules is a wide, open circulation space, with benches for people to relax on and trees for shade.

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva Edit

Kéré was one of three architects chosen to design a permanent exhibition space at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, which opened in 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. Each architect worked on a theme; Gringo Cardia (from Brazil) focused on “defending human dignity”, Shigeru Ban (from Japan) focused on “refusing fatality” and Kéré selected the theme “reconstructing the family link”.[citation needed]

Kéré contributed the dark entrance passage, bounded by hemp concrete walls, that encourages the visitor to consider the frightened and suffocating emotions of family tragedy during conflict. Central to this part of the exhibition is a tower, also made of hemp concrete, which is an architectural reference to a traditional hut for a nuclear family. It lets in very little light and has a Corten steel floor with a rusty appearance. This space is a memorial to tragedies such as the Srebrenica massacre. A “Tree of Messages”, with metal branches, was built to serve as a reminder of the cold contrast between nature and war. The connection between nature and the family is an important sub-theme in Kéré's part of the exhibition. The “Room of Witnesses” is a direct contrast to the tower as here the focus is on transparency and hope rather than darkness and despair. This space emphasizes the important role eyewitness testimony plays in humanitarian action.[citation needed]

Other work Edit

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (2017) in London, the United Kingdom

Kéré has lectured and provided conceptual designs for projects in countries all over the world. His ideas were presented in the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt and the Expo 2008. In Yemen he designed school building prototypes to fit the different climate regions of that country. Kéré designed a school and community centre for the village of Pouni in Burkina Faso.

From October 2010 until January 2011 models and photos of Kéré's projects were featured at an exhibition entitled ‘Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement', at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In June 2010, Kéré took part at the International Congress of Architecture and Society in Pamplona, entitled ‘Architecture: more for less'.

In 2014 Kéré participated to the exhibition Sensing Spaces at the Royal Academy of Arts. In 2016, his work was included in Alejandro Aravena's Venice Architecture Biennial, centered on low-tech construction techniques, traditional materials, and local knowledge.[21] From November 2016 to March 2017 Kéré presented his first monographic exhibition "Francis Kéré. Radically Simple" in Munich at Architekturmuseum der TU Munich.[22] In 2017, the Serpentine Galleries commissioned Kéré to design the Serpentine Pavilion in London.

Kéré designed Sarbalé ke, a vibrant installation consisting of 12 towers, for the art program of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[23]

Prizes Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Diebedo Francis Kere becomes first African to win Pritzker architecture prize". France 24. AFP. 15 March 2022. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b Pogrebin, Robin (15 March 2022). "Pritzker Prize Goes to Architect From West Africa". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  3. ^ Moreira, Paulo. "The inspiring architect from Burkina Faso who lifted world's biggest prize". The Conversation. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Experts: Diébédo Francis Kéré". Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. 16 March 2022. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  5. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (15 March 2022). "'It is unbelievable': Francis Kéré becomes first black architect to win the Pritzker prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  6. ^ Mafi, Nick (15 March 2022). "The 2022 Pritzker Prize Is Awarded to Diébédo Francis Kéré". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  7. ^ Heathcote, Edwin (15 March 2022). "Francis Kéré becomes first African architect to win Pritzker Prize". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  8. ^ Kornblatt, Izzy (15 March 2022). "Diébédo Francis Kéré Named 2022 Pritzker Laureate". Architectural Record.
  9. ^ Schaefer, Louisa (15 March 2022). "Pritzker Prize goes to Burkina Faso-German architect Francis Kere". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  10. ^ Parkes, John (15 March 2022). "Ten projects by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Diébédo Francis Kéré". De Zeen. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  11. ^ a b Holland, Oscar. "Pritzker Prize 2022: Francis Kéré becomes first African to win 'Nobel of architecture'". CNN. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  12. ^ Baratto, Romullo (16 March 2022). ""It's Not Because You Are Limited in Resources That You Should Accept Mediocrity": Interview with Francis Kéré, 2022 Pritzker Winner". ArchDaily. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  13. ^ Bauhaus University in Weimar (2021) "Diébédo Francis Kéré is the Bauhaus Guest Professor for the 2021/2022 Winter Semester"
  14. ^ "Diébédo Francis Kéré | The Pritzker Architecture Prize". www.pritzkerprize.com. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  15. ^ Contal, Marie-Hélène; Revedin, Jana (October 2011). Sustainable design II, Towards a new ethics for architecture and the city. Paris: Actes Sud. ISBN 978-2-330-00085-1.
  16. ^ Architecture And Polyphony: Building In The Islamic World Today. Thames and Hudson. 2004. ISBN 978-0-500-28533-6.
  17. ^ "A--D -- Gando Primary School". Architecture in Development. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  18. ^ "Zumtobel Award Honourable Mentioned Project" (PDF). 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  19. ^ "Etica e poesia per un'architettura sostenibile". Ticinonline (in Italian). 6 December 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Von Afrika lernen, was wir nicht mehr können". ZDF Aspekte. 22 January 2010.
  21. ^ Anagnost, Adrian (25 January 2017). "Craft and Conquest: The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale". nonsite.org.
  22. ^ "Architekturmuseum der TU München – Kéré". Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  23. ^ Stevens, Philip (15 April 2019). "Francis Kéré's coachella installation comprises 12 colorful towers". Designboom.
  24. ^ "Primary School | Aga Khan Development Network". www.akdn.org. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  25. ^ Entertainment, The only biannual Magazine for Architectural. "INTERVIEW: Francis Kéré on Building in Europe and In Africa and His Ethic Of Simplicity". pinupmagazine.org. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Global Award for Sustainable Architecture: Diébédo Francis Kéré". Archived from the original on 31 October 2010.
  27. ^ "Global Award for Sustainable Architecture". Cité de l'architecture & du patrimoine. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Kéré Architecture". kere-architecture.com. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  29. ^ "bsi-swissarchitecturalaward.ch". www.bsi-swissarchitecturalaward.ch.
  30. ^ "Marcus Prize 2011 Recipient".
  31. ^ "Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction". Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  32. ^ "Global Holcim Awards 2012 Gold".
  33. ^ "Schelling Architecture Award winners". schelling-architekturpreis.org. 2014. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  34. ^ "The Best in Heritage". presentations.thebestinheritage.com. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Francis Kéré will be in conversation with Mohsen Mostafavi about his Serpentine architecture". World Architecture Community. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  36. ^ "Francis Kéré Among Arts and Letters Recipients -". World-Architects. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  37. ^ "Report from the 2017 Prince Claus Awards Committee" (PDF). Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  38. ^ "Diébédo Francis Kéré | LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction". LafargeHolcim Foundation. 25 November 2020. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  39. ^ "Francis Kéré 2021 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalist in Architecture". University of Virginia School of Architecture.
  40. ^ "For the first time in its history, architecture's top award goes to a Black architect". NPR.org.

Further reading Edit

Magazines (selection) Edit

Books (selection) Edit

  • Ballard Bell, Victoria; Rand, Patrick (2014). Materials for design 2. Princeton Architectural Press New York. ISBN 9781616891909.
  • Global Architecture Today. Tianjin University Press. 2013.
  • MACHEN. Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. 2012. ISBN 9783981343670.
  • Spataro, Salvatore (2011). NEEDS Architecture in developing Countries. Lettera Ventidue. ISBN 978-8862420327.
  • Fernández Galiano, Luis (2011). Atlas: Architectures of the 21st century. Africa and Middle East. Fundación BBVA. ISBN 9788492937196.
  • Lepik, Andres (2011). Moderators of Change – Architecture that helps. Ostfildern. ISBN 978-3775731867.
  • Lepik, Andres; Bergdoll, Bally (2010). Small Scale, Big Change. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Slavid, Ruth (2009). EXTREME ARCHITECTURE, building for challenging environments. Laurence King Publishing. ISBN 978-1856696098.
  • Feireiss, Lukas; Feireiss, Kirstin (2008). Architecture of Change. Gestalten Verlag. ISBN 9783899552119.
  • Ford, Alain (2007). Designing the sustainable school. Images Pub. ISBN 978-1864702378.

Videos Edit

External links Edit