VOLKSBÜHNE
Berlin

Diébédo Francis Kéré

The Afro-German architect and development campaigner Diébédo Francis Kéré has established a body of work with his buildings, exhibitions, social and architectural interventions that makes him one of the most important forces for positive ethical change in the world of architecture. His work is key to developing an architectural approach that strongly emphasises the social aspects of building in a global society. The focus of his work is on settlement and urban development, strategies for the development and realisation of climate-friendly buildings, sustainable material usage, employment of local workers and integration of local construction techniques in the design. In Germany he first entered public consciousness when theatre director Christoph Schlingensief brought him on board for his Opera Village project in Burkina Faso, where Kéré built a school and hospital. In the spring of 2016 Kéré Architecture was commissioned by the city of Münster to convert the Oxford barracks, taking into account plots of land allocated to the accommodation of refugees. In 2017 Francis Kéré designed the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which facilitates social interaction.

Born in 1965 in Gando, Burkina Faso, Francis Kéré came to Germany as a trained carpenter and aid worker via a scholarship from the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft in 1985. From 1995 to 2004, he studied architecture at the Technical University in Berlin. Even before his graduation, he built the first primary school in Gando as his thesis project, for which he was awarded the prestigious Aga Khan Award for architecture.

Further awards followed, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture (2009), the prestigious Swiss Architectural Award (2010), the Marcus Prize for Architecture of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2011), the Holcim Global Award in Gold (2012) and the Erich Schelling Architekturpreis (2014). Kéré also fills various teaching posts, including at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and a professorship of design at the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Mendrisio.

His construction projects and his vision of socially engaged architecture are documented in numerous exhibitions, magazines and catalogues, among others: Small Scale, Big Change. New Architectures of Social Engagement (Museum of Modern Art, New York 2011), Afritechture (Architekturmuseum Munich 2013). His first retrospective Radically Simple (2016) can be seen in the Museum for Architecture in Munich. Francis Kéré lives in Berlin and works all over the world. His office, Kéré Architecture, is based in Berlin Kreuzberg, within walking distance of Tempelhof.

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