Burkina Faso-born architect Diebedo Francis Kere has turn out to be the primary African to be awarded the Pritzker Structure Prize, structure’s most prestigious honour.
Kere, 56, was recognised for his “pioneering” designs which are “sustainable to the earth and its inhabitants – in lands of utmost shortage”, Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Basis that sponsors the award, mentioned in a press release on Tuesday.
Kere, a twin citizen of Burkina Faso and Germany, mentioned he was the “happiest man on this planet” to turn out to be the 51st recipient of the illustrious prize. It was first awarded in 1979.
“I’ve a sense of an amazing honour but in addition a way of duty,” he advised the AFP information company throughout an interview in his workplace in Berlin.
Kere is famend for constructing colleges, well being services, housing, civic buildings and public areas throughout Africa — not solely in his homeland but in addition in international locations resembling Benin, Mali and Sudan.
“He’s equally architect and servant, bettering upon the lives and experiences of numerous residents in a area of the world that’s at occasions forgotten,” Pritzker mentioned.
Kere gained plaudits for his 2001 challenge for a main faculty in Gando village, in Burkina Faso, the place he was born.
Not like conventional faculty buildings that used concrete, Kere’s revolutionary design mixed native clay, fortified with cement, to kind bricks that helped preserve the inside cool. A sweeping raised tin roof additionally offered safety from heavy rain whereas serving to air flow into.
Kere labored with the area people throughout the design and constructing part, and the variety of college students on the faculty elevated from 120 to 700, the Hyatt Basis mentioned in its launch.
The success of the challenge led to an extension, a library, and lecturers’ housing in later years.
‘Pure local weather’
Kere “empowers and transforms communities by means of the method of structure”, designing buildings “the place sources are fragile and fellowship is significant”, the assertion added.
“By way of his dedication to social justice and engagement, and clever use of native supplies to attach and reply to the pure local weather, he works in marginalized international locations laden with constraints and adversity,” the prize organisers mentioned.
In Burkina Faso, Kere’s accolade was hailed as a reminder that the nation ought to be identified internationally for greater than battle and violence.
Teams linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) have killed greater than 2,000 folks and displaced at the very least 1.7 million lately.
“Within the present ache of the safety disaster, our nation should do not forget that additionally it is the nation of outstanding males like Francis Kere,” mentioned Ra-Sablga Seydou Ouedraogo, of the non-profit Free Afrik.
Nebila Aristide Bazie, head of the Burkina Faso architects’ council, mentioned the award “highlights the African architect and the folks of Burkina Faso”.
In 2017, Kere turned the primary African architect to design the Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Hyde Park, a prestigious project awarded annually to a outstanding architect.
He was additionally one of many architects behind Geneva’s Worldwide Pink Cross and Pink Crescent Museum, and has held solo museum reveals in Munich and Philadelphia.
“I’m completely satisfied that everybody deserves high quality,” he mentioned in his workplace, the place he celebrated his award along with his crew.
“I’m all the time considering: How can I get the perfect for my purchasers, for many who can afford but in addition for many who cannot afford?
“That is my method of doing issues, of utilizing my structure to create constructions to serve folks, let’s say to serve humanity,” Kere added