Pritzker Prize 2022: Congratulations to Francis Kéré!

3 min read

Born in 1956 in Burkina Faso, Diébédo Francis Kéré, with an office in Berlin, has become the first architect from an African country to be awarded the Pritzker Prize 2022. POINTS of contact congratulates the already multiple awarded master of ecological building to the highest award for architecture, which is endowed with 100,000 dollars.

National Park of Mali
© by Francis Kéré

According to the jury's statement from Chicago, "He intuitively knows that architecture is not about the object, but about the goal; not about the product, but about the process. His buildings, for and with communities, are directly of those communities - in their creation, their materials, their programs, and their unique characters." For this reason, in addition to the Pritzker Prize, he has already received almost all the major awards, his work is shown in the most prestigious museums in the world, and he teaches at the most important architecture faculties.

Serpentine Pavilion
© by Iwan Baan
Burkina Faso, National Assembly
© by Kéré Architecture

The beginning of an impressive career

Francis Kéré was born the eldest son of the chief of Gando, a village in Burkina Faso. When he was seven years old, his father sent him to the city to be the first villager to learn to read and write. An abrupt end to his childhood, because Kéré had to do heavy work for his host family, including carting in building materials with the help of a donkey. "In the process, I noticed that we had to repair the clay plaster of the houses after every rainy season. That's why at that time I thought about how to do things better so that a child wouldn't have to do this hard work." The idea to modernize the local huts was born. In realizing this idea, he became one of the most innovative builders in the world, a pioneer in social architecture. His focus is on the needs of people and nature, regional materials and traditions.

© by Iwan Baan
© by Francis Kéré

The most important project of his life

Kéré's professional life began with an apprenticeship as a carpenter. He then received a scholarship and went to study architecture at the TU Berlin. At that time, he already began building a school that would bring him worldwide fame, the Aga Khan Award-winning elementary school in Gando. Today he says: "My most important achievement in my life is that I had the courage to say: Let's build a school out of clay.” After all, with this project he has demonstrated how the oldest and most ecological building material can be made more resistant to contemporary demands - with the addition of a small quantity of cement. Moreover, the building does not need air conditioning, which is how Kéré made a name for himself as an expert in air circulation.

Primary School Extension
© by Erik Jan Owerkerk

Everyone deserves quality, everyone deserves luxury

It is to be hoped that Diébédo Francis Kéré will realize many more groundbreaking projects that follow his motto: "I hope to change the paradigm, to drive people to dream and to take risks. Just because you're rich, you shouldn't waste materials. Just because you're poor, you should still try to create quality. Everyone deserves quality, everyone deserves luxury, everyone deserves comfort. We're connected, and worries about climate, democracy, and scarcity are worries about all of us."

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