African American AIA Fellow
SAY IT LOUD - Washington DC Exhibitor
Germany Based Designer
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.
Diébédo Francis Kéré is a German-trained architect from the 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 the Kéré Foundation 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.
Year of Elevation:
2012 (Honorary Fellow)
Featured Project Name:
Gando Primary School
Featured Project Location:
Burkina Faso, West Africa
Featured Project Completion Date:
Role in Featured Project:
Featured Project Description:
The Gando Primary School was built to expand the sparse network of schools in the province of Boulgou, in the east of Burkina Faso, and addressed two characteristic problems of many educational buildings in the area: poor lighting and ventilation. Traditional building techniques and modern engineering methods were combined simplifying construction and future maintenance. The success of the project is tied to the close involvement of the local population in the building process.