Francis Kéré became the first African architect to win the Pritzker Prize, here are some of the most outstanding projects.
Francis Kéré was awarded by the Pritzker Foundation for his architectural work that reflects his concerns for the wellbeing of the people that use their spaces to flourish.
To him, according to a 2018 interview with EFE agency, Kéré explained that his approach to architecture was more like a “community service”, therefore, he always tries to improve the spaces.
Here are eight of the most beautiful and impactful works done by Francis Kéré.
Gando Primary School, Burkina Faso, 2011
His first project was to build a school in his home village in Burkina Faso, which Kéré had to leave when he was only 7 years old in order to be the first child in his community to attend a school. It was a classroom with no ventilation or light, which is precisely an example of his simple, efficient, and nature-friendly architecture.
A rectangular floor plan with a high ceiling that facilitates air circulation. And narrow, elongated windows protected by colorful wooden shutters line the building’s two longitudinal facades, creating air currents, which is essential in Burkina Faso’s hot climate.
Health and social welfare center in Laongo, Burkina Faso, 2014
Again cantilevered roof in eucalyptus wood on this brick and laterite building is composed of three units interconnected through courtyards and with facades riddled with square windows at different heights that provide streams of light at all hours of the day inside.
In addition to allowing both patients and healthcare professionals to enjoy the views outside.
Serpentine Pavilion, London, 2017
A spectacular temporary circular pavilion in indigo blue with a cantilevered wooden cone-shaped roof with a hole in the center supported over a rainwater harvesting system.
Installed in Kensington Gardens, in the heart of London, it is a symbol of African colors because of its blue walls and the tree-like shape of the building, inside of which tribal-style wooden benches have been arranged.
Sarbalé Ke, California, 2019
A spectacular and colorful design in the form of traditional Indian tents that Kéré designed for the Coachella Festival and whose name translates as “The House of Celebration” in the architect’s native Bissa language.
He was inspired by the baobab, a tree revered in his homeland for its medicinal properties, to design these tents in blues, oranges, pinks, reds, built-in steel, and wood with triangular panels. A complex formed by three very tall tents and around them others of different sizes.
Xylem, Montana, 2019
Another building inspired by a tree, in this case, the tuguna, typical of Burkina Faso and widely used in construction. Clean pine trunks are almost the only structural element of this original building that is part of an art center located in a stunning natural setting near the Beartooth Mountains.
Groups of clustered, suspended logs form the roof of this sort of open pavilion supported by a hexagonal structure and seven steel columns, with curvilinear benches also constructed of logs. From the air, the image of the Xylem is simply spectacular.
Opera Village, Laongo, Burkina Faso
This collaboration between Francis Kéré and the late Christoph Schlingensief, iconic theatre and film was transformed into a rich cultural complex. It consists of the main structure of the opera house surrounded by housing, workshops, ateliers, a school, and a health center. Currently is still under construction.
Doctor’s housing, Léo, Burkina Faso
The mission of the project was not only to provide facilities for surgery and medical assistance but also to establish an exchange of knowledge and expertise between visiting medical specialists and local doctors.
Burkina Faso National Assembly. Under construction.
The new headquarters of Burkina Faso’s National Assembly, commissioned after the destruction of the Parliament building during the 2014 riots, features a pyramid-shaped main building with a half-timbered façade that lets in light and gardens on the upper deck.
The architect’s idea is that it should not only be a place for political debate, but also for social gatherings, so the complex includes gardens with indigenous flora, exhibition spaces, courtyards, a monument in honor of those who lost their lives under the former regime, and even areas for setting up food stalls.