Francis Kéré

Diébédo Francis Kéré was born in 1965 in Gando, a small village in Burkina Faso, West Africa. He was the first child in the village to be sent to school as his father, the village chief, wanted his eldest son to learn how to read and translate his letters. Since no school existed in Gando, Kéré had to leave his family when he was 7 years old to live with his uncle in the city. After finishing his education, he became a carpenter and received a scholarship from the “Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft” to do an apprenticeship in Germany as a supervisor in development aid. After completing the apprenticeship, he went on to study architecture at the Technische Universität in Berlin.

After his studies, he felt it was his duty to contribute to his family and to the community which had supported him, and to give the next generation the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. In 1998, with the help of his friends, Kéré set up the association “Schulbausteine für Gando” with the objective of combining the knowledge he had gained in Europe, with traditional building methods from Burkina Faso. He completed his studies and built the first school in Gando as his diploma project in 2004, while also opening his own architectural office “Kéré Architecture”.

For Kéré, Gando´s survival depends on its development, and the key to development is education. “Kéré Architecture” is first and foremost a social instrument: its cultural, economic and ecological building solutions are always underpinned by a social process.