March 16, 2022

Burkina Faso-Born Architect Wins International Award

Architect Diebedo Francis Kere has won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, but this acclaim is especially significant as he is the first African to win the award in over 40 years since its inception.

The 56-year-old academic and social activist holds dual-citizenship: he was born in Gando, Burkina Faso, but resides in Germany.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established in 1979, and is awarded to those who “demonstrate a combination of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”

His works are characterised by use of local materials while remaining efficiently minimalistic. A prime example of his work is the Centre for Earth Architecture in Mopti, Mali.

“I have a feeling of an overwhelming honour but also a sense of responsibility,” said Kere during an interview from his Berlin office on Tuesday, 15 March. To become the 51st recipient of the award has made him the “happiest man on this planet.”

“I am hoping to change the paradigm, push people to dream and undergo risk. It is not because you are rich that you should waste material. It is not because you are poor that you should not try to create quality,” Kere mused.

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