Aug 25, 2011
Zelda Harrison

XCD, un entretien… Francis Kéré: The Power of Vernacular Architecture

Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré shares the secret of his success with stakeholders unfamiliar with architectural jargon and other notions of  maintaining a professional practice in Africa.

“Education”, “development” and “upliftment” best describe the principles that drive Francis Kéré’s work. Born in Burkina Faso and educated in Germany, Kéré considers it his duty to use his skills to benefit his home continent. His work promotes sustainable architecture in Africa through adapting technology from the industrialised world, considering climatic conditions and using local materials. Kéré’s portfolio includes the Women’s Community Centre in Gando, Burkina Faso; the Museum and Centre for Communication in Mopti, Mali; school projects in Burkina Faso; the National Park in Bamako, Mali; and an Opera Village in Laongo, Burkina Faso.

In 2001 he received the Aga Khan Award and went on to win the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture and the BSI Swiss Architectural Award. His work has been featured in numerous publications including Design Like You Give a Damn; The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century.

This interview continues in French on XCD’s youtube page, where Mr. Kéré elaborates more on his notions of underutilised talent in Africa, and the need for a continent-wide forum of design exchange and artist support.

XCD thanks Design Indaba for making this interview possible.

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