An amazing architect, Diébédo Francis Kéré from Burkina Faso was on Tuesday awarded the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s most prestigious award. This makes Kéré, the first African and, black architect to win this magnificent award in its 43-year history.
The Architect, who is a dual citizen of Burkina Faso and Germany; was celebrated for his designs that are “sustainable to the earth and its inhabitants in lands of extreme scarcity,”; The chairman of the Hyatt Foundation and Sponsorer of Award; Tom Pritzker said in a statement cited by AFP.
Francis Kéré said he was the “happiest man on this planet to win the prize; usually called the Nobel of architecture.
He told AFP in Berlin that he has a feeling of an overwhelming honor but also a sense of responsibility.
The award-winning architect became the first African architect to design the prestigious Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, Central London in 2017. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is a temporary building designed annually by a leading architect.
Kéré is a graduate of the Technical University of Berlin, where he studied Architecture. He also received training as a carpenter, and by 18, won a scholarship to study woodwork in Germany, where he realized his love for architecture and switched over from carpentry.
Kéré, who has been a visiting professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, is mostly based in Berlin, where he established his company Kéré Architecture, in 2005.
The Architect gives back to his Community
The wonderful Architect is also involved in developmental efforts taking place in Burkina Faso. In 1998, he assisted in constructing public school buildings in his hometown; using available materials in his locality and manpower with an ecologically sustainable approach.
He has also built houses, health facilities, and is behind civic buildings and public spaces across Africa, including his country Burkina Faso, alongside; Benin, Mali, Sudan, Mozambique, and Kenya.
Some of Kéré’, other important works include the permanent exhibition space at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland; the Zhou Shan Harbour Development, China, and the National Park, Bamako, Mali.
He is also a winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.
He told AFP “I am convinced that everyone deserves quality; I’m always thinking how can I get the best for my clients, for those who can afford but also for those who cannot afford.
“This is my way of doing things by using my architecture to create structures to serve people; let’s say to serve humanity,” he added.