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Francis Kéré

Architect, Kéré Architecture

Diébédo Francis Kéré is a German-trained architect from the small West African village 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 study in Germany, earning his diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Technische Universität in Berlin. He is the founder of Kéré Architecture and Schulbausteine für Gando (Bricks for Gando), a charitable foundation focused towards realizing sustainable architecture for the growth of his community. Francis Kéré’s work has been recognized with awards such as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the BSI Swiss Architectural Award, the Marcus Prize and the Global Holcim Gold Award. He has earned an Honorary Fellowship for the American Institute of Architects and a Membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

ACHIEVEMENT / What is your project, initiative, startup, company all about?

Kére Architecture works to support the educational, cultural, and sustainable needs of communities in Burkina Faso and around the world through architecture.Their focus is towards the usage and development of local materials and techniques, simple adaptations of new technology and fostering creative environmental and educational potential for communities.

LOCATION / In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities?

Gando, Burkina Faso, West Africa

IMPACT / What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental… of the activity, project, initiative, startup, company?

Despite major economic and logistical challenges, Francis Kéré uses his formal training as an architect to develop strategies for innovative and sustainable construction by combining traditional building techniques and materials with modern engineering methods. He maximizes the resources available on site such as clay or wood and engages community participation in order to reduce costs and ecological impact. He partners closely with communities, empowering them to contribute in the building process. In planning for the long-term sustainability and maintenance of the architecture, he develops ventilation strategies that take advantage of passive cooling, eliminating the need for electricity or air-conditioning.

QUOTE / A saying, quote or reference phrase that tells something about you

Giving value to traditional building techniques is the way to unite tradition and modernity.