Diébédo Francis Kéré is an architect from Burkina Faso. He studied at the Technische Universität Berlin. His focus is on education as the developing concept for his country, in which he has already built an essential infrastructure.
The focus of Kéré’s drafts are climatic adaptation, low building costs and self building: “The community needs to be educated on how to monitor the climatic circumstances and to use local materials. Only people who take part in the building process can maintain and spread the word about these architectural projects.”
While he was studying, he founded the association “Schulbausteine für Gando eV” for the funding of his first project, a primary school in his home village. The building was finished in 2001 and received the Aga Khan Award for its exemplarity as well as its concise and elegant architecture using basic, constructive instruments. The school is the result of a vision, initially verbalised by the architect but ultimately realised by the community. The jury valued especially the great potential of a project that helps the community to develop a healthy sense of pride and hope, at the same time creating a solid base for its development. The fact that Kéré built a primary school for Gando exemplifies his commitment for education. To him, education is the foundation for every social, technical and economical development.
This was the first of many awards, others including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2009 and the BSI Swiss Architectural Award in 2010. His work has also been featured in numerous publications including Design Like You Give a Damn (2006), The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture (2001) and 10x10/3 – 100 Architects 10 Critics (2009).
Kéré connects research and experience as a lecturer at the Technische Universität Berlin and as an architect in his own office. His research is contributed to the impartial development of strategies for architecture with local character. As an architect he defines himself as “a bridge between cultures, between the technically and economically developed countries of ‘the north’ and the less developed African countries (the south)”.
Kéré is on the advisory panel for the Africa is Now exhibition at Design Indaba Expo 2014.