Cities and Urbanization

How a pioneering architect faced rejection - and used design to drive social change and sustainability

Architect, Francis Kéré, attends a ceremony that was held by traditional leaders to honour him, after he won Pritzker Prize in his native village Gando, Burkina Faso June 4, 2022. Picture taken June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault Image: REUTERS/Anne Mimault

Linda Lacina

Digital Editor, World Economic Forum

Gayle Markovitz

Business Editor, World Economic Forum

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Diébédo Francis Kéré, Architect & Founder, Kéré Foundation
Francis Kere, an architect who won the Pritzker Prize walks through his village Gando, Burkina Faso June 4, 2022. Picture taken June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault
Diébédo Francis Kéré, an architect who won the Pritzker Prize walks through his village Gando, Burkina Faso June 4, 2022. Image: REUTERS/Anne Mimault
 In this project, indigenous clay was fortified with cement to form bricks with high thermal mass, retaining cooler air inside while allowing heat to escape through a brick ceiling and wide, overhanging, elevated roof, resulting in ventilation without the mechanical intervention of air conditioning.
For the Gando Primary School project, indigenous clay was fortified with cement to form bricks with high thermal mass, allowing heat to escape through a brick ceiling and wide, overhanging, elevated roof, resulting in ventilation without the mechanical intervention of air conditioning. Image: Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Owerkerk
Diébédo Francis Kéré, Architect
The facility is composed of cooling clay walls that were cast in-situ to accelerate the building process. Overhanging eucalyptus, regarded as inefficient due to its minimal shading abilities yet depletion of nutrients from the soil, were repurposed to line the angled corrugated metal roofs, which protect the building during the country’s brief rainy reason. Rainwater is collected underground to irrigate mango plantations on the premises.
The Burkina Institute of Technology is composed of cooling clay walls that were cast in-situ to accelerate the building process. Overhanging eucalyptus, regarded as inefficient due to its minimal shading abilities yet depletion of nutrients from the soil, were repurposed to line the angled corrugated metal roofs, which protect the building during the country’s brief rainy reason. Rainwater is collected underground to irrigate mango plantations on the premises. Image: Burkina Institute of Technology, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Students walk in the secondary school building that was built by Francis Kere, an architect who won Pritzker Prize, in his native village Gando, Burkina Faso June 3, 2022. Picture taken June 3, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault
Students walk in the secondary school building that was built by Francis Kere, an architect who won Pritzker Prize, in his native village Gando, Burkina Faso June 3, 2022. Picture taken June 3, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault Image: REUTERS/Anne Mimault
At Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary structure located in Kensington Gardens, rainwater funnels into the center of the structure before irrigating the landscape to highlight water scarcity that is experienced worldwide.
At Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion, a temporary structure located in Kensington Gardens, rainwater funnels into the center of the structure before irrigating the landscape to highlight water scarcity that is experienced worldwide. Image: Serpentine Pavilion, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Benga Riverside School is located at the confluence of the Revúboé and Zambezi rivers. The campus contains a nursery and primary school, with a layout designed to shelter its young occupants physically and figuratively. Administrative offices are at the entrance, with classrooms situated further back, and walls are patterned with small recurring voids throughout, allowing light and transparency to evoke feelings of trust from its students.
Benga Riverside School is located at the confluence of the Revúboé and Zambezi rivers. The campus contains a nursery and primary school, with a layout designed to shelter its young occupants physically and figuratively. Administrative offices are at the entrance, with classrooms situated further back, and walls are patterned with small recurring voids throughout, allowing light and transparency to evoke feelings of trust from its students. Image: Benga Riverside School, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Francis Kéré, Architect
 Local laterite stone, yielding high thermal mass, was formed into bricks to build the modules. A detached and overhanging corrugated metal roof protects the exterior materials from the rain while shielding the building’s inhabitants from natural elements. From within, vaulted ceilings of white perforated plaster distribute favorable lighting under direct sun while heat escapes through wind towers.
Local laterite stone, yielding high thermal mass, was formed into bricks to build the modules. A detached and overhanging corrugated metal roof protects the exterior materials from the rain while shielding the building’s inhabitants from natural elements. From within, vaulted ceilings of white perforated plaster distribute favorable lighting under direct sun while heat escapes through wind towers. Image: Lycée Schorge Secondary School, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
 From the periphery, vertical eucalyptus wood forms a border, offering shady intermediary spaces for students and teachers.
From the periphery, vertical eucalyptus wood forms a border, offering shady intermediary spaces for students and teachers. Image: Lycée Schorge Secondary School, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Diébédo Francis Kéré, Architect & Founder, Kéré Foundation
Diébédo Francis Kéré, Architect
Francis Kere, an architect who won Pritzker Prize poses  for photograph with villagers in front of the secondary school he built in his village Gando, Burkina Faso June 4, 2022. Picture taken June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault
Image: REUTERS/Anne Mimault
Diébédo Francis Kéré, Architect
A villager with painted body pays homage as he attends a ceremony held by traditional leaders to honor the architect Francis Kere who won Pritzker Prize in his native village Gando, Burkina Faso June 4, 2022. Picture taken June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault
A villager with painted body pays homage as he attends a ceremony held by traditional leaders to honor the architect Diébédo Francis Kéré who won Pritzker Prize in his native village Gando, Burkina Faso June 4, 2022. Picture taken June 4, 2022. REUTERS/Anne Mimault Image: REUTERS/Anne Mimault

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Related topics:

Cities and UrbanizationSDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesNet Zero Carbon CitiesAfricaSDG 08: Decent Work and Economic Growth

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