Congratulations to Diébédo Francis Kéré for being awarded the 2022 Pritzker Prize, regarded internationally as architecture’s highest honor. Kéré made history by being the first African and Black architect to win the prize since it began being awarded in 1979 and is being recognized for his “commitment to social justice and engagement, and intelligent use of local materials to connect and respond to the natural climate, he works in marginalized countries laden with constraints and adversity, where architecture and infrastructure are absent.” (Source: Architizer)
The Pritzker jury succinctly put it, “Francis Kéré’s entire body of work shows us the power of materiality rooted in place. His buildings, for and with communities, are directly of those communities – in their making, their materials, their programs and their unique characters. They are tied to the ground on which they sit and to the people who sit within them. They have presence without pretense and an impact shaped by grace.”
Kéré was born in Gando, Burkina Faso and based in Berlin, Germany. He is known for “building contemporary school institutions, health facilities, professional housing, civic buildings and public spaces, oftentimes in lands where resources are fragile and fellowship is vital, the expression of his works exceeds the value of a building itself.” (Source: Building Design + Construction)
While exhibiting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2016, they described how “Kéré looks to the properties of raw materials to inform the design and construction of his buildings. Since many of his technical innovations result from the extreme climatic range of Western Africa, where periods of heavy rain alternate with hot and dry conditions, Kéré makes inventive use of an invasive species, eucalyptus (which provides little shade and leaches moisture from the soil) as a sustainable source of timber for shading screens and secondary facades, and easily worked steel rebar and metal sheeting for expansive sheltering roofs.