Diébédo Francis Kéré is a German-trained architect from the small West African town of Gando in Burkina Faso. As the first son of the head of his village, he was the only child allowed to attend school. After excelling in his studies, Kéré was awarded a scholarship to apprentice in Germany. He then attended the Technische Universität in Berlin where he earned his diploma in Architecture and Engineering. While still a student, Kéré established his charitable foundation Schulbausteine für Gando (Bricks for Gando) in 1998. Parallel to his studies, he began to raise money for the purpose of building a school in his home village. Despite major economic and logistical challenges, Kéré set his focus towards reinvesting his knowledge back into his home community in Burkina Faso. Using his formal training as an architect, he developed strategies for innovative construction by combining traditional Burkinabé building techniques and materials with modern engineering methods. In order to realize his goal, Francis Kéré partnered closely with his community, demonstrating to them the possibility and potential for innovation that could benefit their village for years to come.
The Primary School was completed in 2001 and received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for its elegant and simple design using basic construction techniques. Following the success of this project, Kéré became acutely aware of further challenges Gando faced. He developed plans for a School Extension, School Library, Secondary School, Teacher’s Housing, Songtaaba Women's Center, and a research center for Ecological and sustainable building practices known as the Atelier. Since founding Kéré Architecture in 2005, his work has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards such as the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, the BSI Swiss Architectural Award, the Marcus Prize, the Global Holcim Gold Award, and the Schelling Architecture Award. His work in Burkina Faso has earned him an honorary fellowship for the American Institute of Architects and a membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has held professorships at the Harvard Graduate School of Design as well as the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio.
Iwan Baan / National Park of Mali, Bamako, Mali / Centre de L'architecture en terre, Mopti, Mali / Portrait / About page
Enrico Cano / Primary School Gando, Burkina Faso / School extension Gando, Burkina Faso / Secondary School Dano, Burkina Faso
Siméon Duchoud of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Primary School Gando, Burkina Faso
Lucio Frigo / Benga Riverside, Tete, Mozambique
Alain Germond / The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland
Benedict Johnson and James Harris of Royal Academy of Arts / Sensing Spaces, London, U.K.
Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk /Primary School Gando, Burkina Faso / Teachers housing Gando, Burkina Faso / School extension Gando, Burkina Faso / Secondary School Dano, Burkina Faso
Alberto Pottenghi of Universita della Svizzera Italiana / Atelir Gando, Gando, Burkina Faso
Andreas Schwaiger of Holcim Foundation / Awards page
Blake Villwock / Mudwall, Venice Biennale / About page
Value Added Tax Identification Number (USt-IdNr.): DE244195531
Registration: Architektenkammer Berlin, 2005 September 23, Nr. 11817, Freischaffender Architekt
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Working across continents from Africa to Europe, we strive to engage localities in our design and construction approach. Our philosophy of providing more with less fosters innovation and resourcefulness in our practice, using local materials, local knowledge, and local technologies to create holistic and sustainable design solutions. We believe that architecture can be a vehicle for collective expression and empowerment, which is why we work closely with local communities in all phases of design from planning to construction. By supporting the educational, cultural, and civic needs of local communities with provocative and dignifying design, we will continue to raise awareness towards the sustainable and economic issues facing populations in rural Africa and beyond.
Staff: Adriana Arteaga, Ines Bergdolt, Claudia Buhmann, Raquel Font, Dominique Mayer, Samuel Perea Diaz, Diego Sologuren Martin
Support Staff: Alice Busani, Fabian Klemp
Interns: Daniel Heuermann
Previous Staff: Valentin Bettinger, Yasmin Bremer, Emmanuel Dorsaz, Pedro Montero Gosalbez, Olivier Gondouin, Jerome Byron Hord, Jin Gul David Jun, Jamie Keats, Jenny Kurth, Monica Lamela, Matthew MacKay-Lyons, Isabell McKinnon, Galina Möller, Julia Philips, Dessi Slawa, Emmanuela Smiglak, Tamara Speil, Ren Tian, Lukas Veltrusky, Judith Wach
Telephone: +49 30 78952391
Fax: +49 30 78952398
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