Burkinabè architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has won this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, becoming the first African architect to win the prize. This award is considered architecture’s most significant lifetime achievement award.
Kéré is a hero in Gando, the village in Burkino Faso where he was born. The villagers enjoy the climate-friendly school buildings and libraries he designed for their high daily temperatures and water shortages. According to the jury, his work “empowers and transforms communities through the process of architecture”. His buildings also incorporate local materials.
Kéré now lives in Berlin and has completed various other schools and health centres in Africa, such as in the Republic of Benin, Togo, Kenya, Mozambique, Mali and Sudan.
According to the jury, Francis Kéré “… knows, from within, that architecture is not about the object but the objective; not the product but the process. … [His]entire body of work shows us the power of materiality rooted in place. His buildings, for and with communities, are directly of those communities – in their making, their materials, their programs and their unique characters.”
In 2017 Kéré was also the first African architect to design the temporary summer pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London.
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