Francis Kéré’s first project, an elementary school in Gando, Burkina Faso, won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004.
Home proud: surveying the work of African architect Francis Kéré
BY HARRIET THORPE ARCHITECTURE 30 NOV 2016
A survey of the work of Francis Kéré, titled Radically Simple, has been published by Hatje Cantz, tying in with an exhibition of his work at the Architekturmuseum at the Technical University of Munich. Recognised for his socially engaged architectural design, Kéré combines cultural and ecological factors to create buildings which are intelligent to their contexts.
The book curates an overview of his design work, presenting projects from temporary structures and exhibition design to the works he is most well-known for. These include his first project, an elementary school in Gando, Burkina Faso, which won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004, and also his design for the Operndorf Afrika (Africa Opera Village Africa) with German theatre director Christoph Schlingensief, initiated in 2009.
Currently based in Berlin – he studied at the city’s Technical University – Kéré was born in Burkino Faso, where he has completed numerous projects informed by his acute understanding of the cultural landscape, employing local materials and understanding of ecological requirements.
Committed to the communication of his design principles, Kéré has held exhibitions internationally, presenting sensitive installations in locations such as London, Milan, Chicago and Humlebæk, yet the Ayça Beygo-curated exhibition at the Architekturmuseum will be the largest of his works to date.
Discover, Explore and Learn more via Wallpaper* | Home proud: surveying the work of African architect Francis Kéré
Radically Simple, published by Hatje Cantz, €34.80.
‘Francis Kéré: Radically Simple’ will be on show until 26 March 2017.
For more information, visit the Hatje Cantz website and the Architekturmuseum at the Technical University of Munich website
Architekturmuseum at the Technical University of Munich
New York Times Interview
In the following edited interview with the New York Time’s Art & Design correspondent Stephen Heyman, Francis Kéré explains the genesis of the collaboration with the late German theater and film director Christoph Schlingensief.
Q. Everyone can understand the value of building a school in a small village like Gando. But how do you balance essential humanitarian projects like that with something like the Opera Village, your collaboration with the late German theater and film director Christoph Schlingensief, which calls for a “world-class performance center” in a very remote area of the country? Is an opera what Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries, needs most?
A. When I first met Christoph, I was trying to build schools — little schools — and there wasn’t enough money even to do that. And he came to me and said, I want to build an opera in Africa. I thought the idea was just a provocation and that Christoph was this crazy dreamer. But he pushed me, and it was a very moving experience working with him. With time, I began to understand him, that he didn’t want to just replicate a Western-style opera house. He wanted to create a structure that could collect what the country had in terms of art, cinema, theater and promote it and exchange it with the outside world. And that’s what we’re building, but we also have artist housing, a primary school for more than 200 children that’s focused on art education and a medical center.
Discover, Explore and Learn more via New York Times | Arts & Design | Spotlight | In Burkina Faso, Rebuilding With a Local Touch
Watch this heart warming account of his work … From Ted Talks
TED City 2.0
In his own words …
“When I was a kid going to school, I was coming back every holiday to Gando. By the end of every holidays, I had to say goodbye to the community, going from one compound to another one.
As a seven-year-old guy, I was impressed.
I just asked my mother one day, “Why do all these women love me so much?”
She just answered, “They are contributing to pay for your education hoping that you will be successful and one day come back and help improve the quality of life of the community.”
I hope now that I was able to make my community proud through this work, and I hope I was able to prove to you the power of community, and to show you that architecture can be inspiring for communities to shape their own future.”
Discover, Explore and learn more via:
- KÉRÉ ARCHITECTURE | Primary School | Gando | Burkina Faso
- KÉRÉ ARCHITECTURE | Awards
- AKDN | Aga Khan Trust For Culture | Aga Khan Award for Architecture | 2002-2004 Cycle | Primary School
Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali