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Wednesday, March 23, 2022


Gando Primary School in Gando, Burkina Faso, 2001
Last week’s Ides of March turned out to be a terrific day for architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, HFAIA, who was named the winner of the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize according to Tom Pritzker, Chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award that is regarded internationally as architecture’s highest honor. 

Diébédo Francis Kéré, HFAIA
Kéré, 56, a native of Gando, Burskina Faso whose practice was founded and remains based in Berlin. Germany, was trained as a carpenter in his hometown. He designed his first building, a school in Gando, while still an architecture student. 

The prize jury said Kéré's work contributes "local, national, regional and global dimensions in a very personal balance of grass roots experience, academic quality, low tech, high tech, and truly sophisticated multiculturalism.” 

Pritzker added, “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.” 

Startup Lions Campus, Turkana County, Kenya 2021

Kéré has become the first African to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize. He told BBC he was "very happy, very proud. It was a huge surprise." 

But his decades-long journey to the top of his field was far from a straight line.  There was limited opportunities in his village. "I grew up in a community where there was no kindergarten, but where community was your family and I remember the room where my grandmother would sit and tell stories with a little light, while we would huddle close to each other and her voice inside the room enclosed us, summoning us to come closer and form a safe place. This was my first sense of architecture," he said. 

Founded by Francis Kéré in 2005, with a dual focus on design and social commitment, his studio's scope encompasses building, design and knowledge sharing. “Architecture is primarily a service to humanity,” says Kere. 

National Park of Mali, Bamako, Mali, 2010
Surgical Clinic & Health Centre, Leo, Burkina Faso, 2014

Serpentine Pavilion, London, 2017

Burkina Institute of Technology, Koudougou, Burkina Faso, 2020

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