Francis Kéré rules! German-trained architect born in 1965 in Burkina Faso, founder in 2005 of Kéré Architecture – a Berlin-based firm focused on developing innovative construction by integrating traditional building techniques and materials with modern engineering methods – is the protagonist of the moment thanks to his own vision, a mix of ethical commitment and aesthetic excellence.

On November 8, Francis Kéré is ArchEx Keynote Speaker at Architecture Exchange East 2018 in AIA, Virginia, United-States and on November 16 he will talk about Sustainable Development in Africa as Keynote Speaker and Round Table Participant at Afrika-Symposium (Ernst-Schmidt-Hörsaal, Fakultät für Maschinenwesen, TUM Campus Garching, Munich, Germany).

Kéré Architecture is invited to the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, as part of the special section The Practice of Teaching (in Venice until November 25).

For the Exhibition “Racism. the Invention of Human Races.” Kéré Architecture designed the scenography now on display at Deutsches-Hygiene Museum, until January 6th, 2019.

Until January 20, the exhibition “Francis Kéré. Primary Element” is held at Museo ICO in Madrid, organized by Fundación ICO.

Social Design” exhibition, curated by Angeli Sachs, until February the 3rd at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich features Kéré Architecture’s Lycée Schorge project as an example of an initiative that explores new typologies of social architecture and design.

Kéré’s community-focused projects have been recognized nationally and internationally with awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2004) for his first building, a primary school in Gando, Burkina Faso, and the Global Holcim Award 2012 Gold. Kéré has undertaken projects in varied countries including Burkina Faso, Mali, Germany and Switzerland.

For the installation Courtyard Village in Palazzo Litta during the 2016 Fuorisalone in Milan, he designed ZIBA that was also an integral part of the London Serpentine Pavilion 2017. The stools complemented the Pavilion’s structure allowing people to sit down and enjoy the shade.For the design of ZIBA, produced by Riva1920, Francis Kéré takes cues from typical African stools, traditionally shaped by carving solid shea logs with hand-made tools. The ZIBA stool reinterprets this process using an advanced technology that consists of mechanical subtractions in a scented cedar log. Stool in solid wood of scented cedar machined from a single block is inspired by the characteristic African stools, traditionally formed by carving into a wooden block of shea with the use of artisan chisels.

photo © Giovanni Desandre

It is made from completely natural wood and hand-finished without the addition of any treatment. Its playful and soft shape evokes faraway worlds, as well as its name, which refers to an ironic Burkinabé expression to encourage avoiding indolence. Any movements, cracks and changes in the appearance of the wood are intrinsic characteristics of these items and result from the natural settlement and diverse environmental conditions of the wood. Each purchaser that buys a Riva 1920 product will receive as a gift a small plant, upon request, to return the favour to nature that originally produced the wood used for the production of the piece of furniture purchased.

Diébédo Francis Kéré continues to reinvest knowledge back into Burkina Faso and other sites across four different continents. He has developed innovative construction strategies that combine traditional building techniques and materials with modern engineering methods.

He has held professorships at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Swiss Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio). In 2017 he accepted the professorship for “Architectural Design and Participation” at TU München (Germany).

Francis Kéré portrait by Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk