On Tuesday 15 March 2022, Francis Kéré of Burkina Faso was awarded the Pritzker Prize for the best architect in the world. This honorary distinction for the first time in favour of an African presents once again, the artistic genius of Africa.
Francis Kéré is known for his professionalism in public use projects and many of his works are spoken of across the continent in countries such as Benin, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Togo, Kenya…Indeed, this is the first time an African has received an award of this kind. The winner has now won a $100,000 scholarship and a bronze medal. The 57-year-old architect was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004. In this way, Francis Kéré has gradually established himself in the field with very large achievements throughout the world.
“Thanks to his commitment to social justice and the intelligent use of local materials to adapt and respond to the natural climate, he works in marginalised countries, where constraints and difficulties are numerous and architecture and infrastructure are absent,” the Pritzker Prize organisers suggested. This prize therefore determines the ability of this renowned architect to build infrastructure despite the pressures of nature. “He builds contemporary educational institutions, health facilities, professional housing, civic buildings and public spaces often in countries where resources are fragile and fraternity is vital,” adds the organizers of the Hyatt Foundation award.
Other noteworthy achievements include the renovation of the Mali National Park in Bamako, the design of pavilions or installations in Denmark, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and America. In addition, he used cooling clay walls and overhanging eucalyptus trees to cover corrugated iron roofs at the Burkina Faso Institute of Technology. In Kenya, quarry stones and stacked towers were used to minimise the air conditioning required to protect technological equipment. Currently, he has been commissioned to build the headquarters of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso, on which work has not yet started. All these achievements have made the man an internationally renowned architectural genius.
A well-deserved prize after all
In a statement from the Pritzker Prize, Francis Kéré says: “Everyone deserves quality, everyone deserves luxury and everyone deserves comfort. We are connected to each other and concerns about climate, democracy and scarcity concern us all. Thus, for the winner, it is first and foremost the well-being of all that counts. Its policy is quite particular: to strategically use local building materials to offer solidity and comfort to the population. After the great figures of this art such as Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Zaha Habib, Jean Nouvel etc., Diébédo Francis Kéré becomes the 51st winner of the international Pritzker Architecture Prize.