Diébédo Francis Kéré and his architectural firm design buildings that are good for the environment — and those who use them.
Why you should listen
Diébédo Francis Kéré grew up in Gando, a small village in Burkina Faso. Having gone away to school, first within his country and then at the Technische Universität in Berlin, Germany, he resolved to give back to the community that raised him. He does that through the power of architecture.
Through his firm, Kéré Architecture, Kéré focuses on using local building materials and techniques in a modern way, to redefine and redesign the enviroment. In Burkina Faso, that means working predominantly with clay, and his innovative approach has seen the creation of remarkably beautiful, modern buildings that are entirely appropriate to the setting.
His first building, a primary school in Gando, was completed in 2001 and received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Since then, he has designed other structures for the village; his other work there has also won multiple awards, including the Global Award, the BSI Swiss Architectural Award, the Marcus Prize and the Global Holcim Award Gold 2012.
Kéré also teaches architecture; he has lectured at colleges including the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and Harvard. In 2013, he began teaching at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
What others say
“African-born architect Diébédo Francis Kéré gets big results by mixing a little mud with a lot of heart.” — Fast Company