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Africa’s best architect

Tree house for a parliament

The Pritzker prize for architects is what the Oscar is for Hollywood stars. In 2022, for the first time an African architect won the most prestigious award. Diébédo Francis Kéré from Burkina Faso is known for innovative buildings made of ancient material such as clay and wood and for his sense of “giving back to the community”. 

57 year old Kéré studied carpentry and architecture at the Technical University of Berlin, where he has his own architecture firm until today. After his studies one of his first designs was for a school in his home village in Burkina Faso, where he grew up  as one of 13 siblings.

In 2017 he designed the Serpentine Pavilion at Kensington Garden in London, in 2019 one of his most iconic buildings, a wooden parliament for Benin, a project still in planning. It is inspired by the concept of the Palaver Tree, an African  tradition of gathering under a tree to make consensual decisions.  Kéré has received multiple awards for his contribution towards ‘architecture for humans’; including the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. His work is spread across four continents and in numerous countries like Mali, Yemen, China and the United States of America. 

The Pritzker Prize was established in Chicago in 1979; architecture stars like Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid have received it.

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