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Sat, 04.10.1965

Diébédo Kéré, Environmental Themed Architect born

Diébédo Kéré

*Diébédo Kéré was born on this date in 1965. He is a Black African architect recognized for creating innovative works that are often sustainable and collaborative.

Diébédo Francis Kéré was born in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso. He was the first child in the town to be sent to school as his father, the village chief, wanted his eldest son to learn how to read and translate his letters. Since no school existed in Gando, Kéré had to leave his family when he was seven years old to live with his uncle in the city. After finishing his education, he became a carpenter and received a scholarship to do an apprenticeship in Germany as a supervisor in development aid. Educated at the Technical University of Berlin, he graduated in 2004.

He has lived in Berlin since 1985. During his studies, he felt it was his duty to contribute to his family and the community that had supported him and allow the next generation to follow in his footsteps. In 1998, with the help of his friends, Kéré set up the association Schulbausteine für Gando e.V. (now Kéré Foundation), which loosely translates as "Building Blocks for Gando," to fund the construction of a primary school for his village. His objective was to combine the knowledge he had gained in Europe with traditional building methods from Burkina Faso.

He completed his studies and built the first school in Gando as his diploma project in 2004 while also opening his own architectural office Kéré Architecture. Kéré is known for involving the community in his projects and his innovative use of vernacular materials and techniques. Kéré's project locations include Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Togo, Sudan, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the USA, and the UK. In 2017 the Serpentine Galleries commissioned him to design the Serpentine Pavilion in London. Parallel to his studies, he established the Kéré Foundation, and in 2005 he founded Kéré Architecture.

His architectural practice has been recognized internationally with awards, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2004) for his first building, the Gando Primary School in Burkina Faso, and the Global Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction 2012 Gold. Kéré has lectured at the Technical University of Berlin. In 2012, at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and was a visiting professor at Harvard. He also taught at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio. Kéré accepted an Architectural design professorship at the Technical University of Munich in 2017.

In 2021 Kéré took a position as a guest professor at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. In 2022, he won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the first person from Africa and the first black person to do so.

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