FORUM

  • Hilary Northcraft

ARCHITECT WITH AFRO-FUTURIST VISION WINS 2022 PRITZKER PRIZE

Francis Kéré's inspiration for architecture began at home. Growing up in Burkina Faso, his village of Gando had no school and so he found himself leaving home at seven years old to seek out an education. He initially studied carpentry and then went on to study architecture at the Technical University of Berlin, always with the dream of returning to Gando to build a school. In 2001 his dreams were realized when Kéré designed, raised funds for, and subsequently built Gando Primary School, in collaboration with the residents of his hometown.


Children in front of Gando Primary School in Burkina Faso, a building with red brick and primary colored shutters
Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Owerkerk

Gando Primary School garnered Kéré his first award in 2004 - the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture and led to the founding of his architectural practice, Kéré Architecture GmbH, in 2005. Kéré also established the Kéré Foundation e.V. at that time, a non-profit organization that realizes his personal commitment to serve the community he grew up in by continuing to pursue projects in Gando.


Since then, Kéré has gone on to become one of the world’s most distinguished contemporary architects. Designing projects across four continents. his accomplishments include schools, health care facilities like the Léo Surgical Clinic and Health Centre, residential communities, governmental buildings such as the Benin National Assembly and the Burkina Faso National Assembly, the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens, furniture, pop up stores, and art installations at a number of international locations, including the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California.


On March 15th, the organizers of the Pritzker Prize, often dubbed the "Nobel of architecture," announced Diébédo Francis Kéré as its 2022 laureate, making him the first African to win the prize! Comments Pritzer, “Francis Kéré is pioneering architecture - sustainable to the earth and its inhabitants – in lands of extreme scarcity. He is equally architect and servant, improving upon the lives and experiences of countless citizens in a region of the world that is at times forgotten.” “Through buildings that demonstrate beauty, modesty, boldness, and invention, and by the integrity of his architecture and geste, Kéré gracefully upholds the mission of this Prize.”

Diébédo Francis Kéré, photo courtesy of Lars Borges


“I am hoping to change the paradigm, push people to dream and undergo risk. It is not because you are rich that you should waste material. It is not because you are poor that you should not try to create quality,” says Kéré.


“Everyone deserves quality, everyone deserves luxury, and everyone deserves comfort. We are interlinked and concerns in climate, democracy, and scarcity are concerns for us all.”





To read more about Francis Kéré and his award visit The Pritzker Prize website or read this CNN article.