Collaborating with residents, Burkina Faso architect Francis Kéré places social and historical needs at the heart of his design thinking
More than almost any other contemporary architect, Burkina Faso–born Diébédo Francis Kéré (born 1965) stands for the social and cultural possibilities of architecture: the innovative aspect of his work lies in his reliance on local residents. Kéré first made a name for himself in 2008 with his designs for Christoph Schlingensief’s Opera Village Africa, and since then he has received numerous international awards (including the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture), primarily for his building projects in his native Burkina Faso. In 2015, Kéré designed a Legacy Campus in Kenya for the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation (MSOF), the foundation of the sole living grandparent of president Barack Obama, whose mission is to feed and educate children and impoverished families.
Kéré's structures combine the influence of his formal training at the Technische Universität Berlin with the traditional building methods of Burkina Faso. In working with the local populace, he places local social and historical needs at the center of his design concepts; residents are trained to become professionals and thus the constructors of their own future.
This first monograph on his extensive oeuvre provides unique insight into the creative work of this outstanding architect and renders visible the fact that architecture not only revolves around buildings, but always around people as well.