Diébédo Francis Kéré, first African to win the Pritzker Prize

Where he grew up, architecture was almost non-existent. Nevertheless, Diébédo Francis Kéré won the Pritzker Prize 2022, otherwise known as the "Nobel Prize of architecture".

Isabella Hübscher

By Isabella Hübscher18 mars 2022

The primary school in Gando built in 2001, one of Diébédo Francis Kéré's most important works (Jan-Erik Overkerk)

This week, the Burkinabe Diébédo Francis Kéré made history with the Pritzker Prize. Indeed, he is the first African to win this prestigious architecture prize, established by businessman Jay Pritzker in 1979. The $100,000 international prize is awarded annually by an independent jury to honour one or more living architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision and commitment. 

Diébédo Francis Kéré's talent and commitment are not new. Born in Burkina Faso in 1965 in a region lacking drinking water, electricity and infrastructure, Diébédo nevertheless quickly met his passion for architecture: "I grew up in a community where there was no kindergarten, but where the community was your family. He enjoys using his talent to benefit disadvantaged people, and has always been committed to social justice. "He knows from the inside that architecture is not about the object but the goal; not the product but the process," the jury said in a statement. "I had this idea that even the most deprived have a right to comfort and beauty," Diébédo Francis Kéré told the newspaper Le Monde.

Francis Kéré raises fundamental questions about the meaning of permanence and sustainability of construction in a context of constant technological change and the use and reuse of structures.

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