Diébédo Francis Kéré Receives the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Chicago, IL (March 15, 2022) – Diébédo Francis Kéré, architect, educator and social activist, has been selected as the 2022 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, announced Tom Pritzker, Chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award that is regarded internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

“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,” says Kéré. “Everyone deserves quality, everyone deserves luxury, and everyone deserves comfort. We are interlinked and concerns in climate, democracy and scarcity are concerns for us all.”

Born in Gando, Burkina Faso and based in Berlin, Germany, the architect known as Francis Kéré empowers and transforms communities through the process of architecture. Through 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. 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.

Gando Primary School
Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk

“Francis Kéré is pioneering architecture - sustainable to the earth and its inhabitants – in lands of extreme scarcity. He is equally architect and servant, improving upon the lives and experiences of countless citizens in a region of the world that is at times forgotten,” comments Pritzker. “Through buildings that demonstrate beauty, modesty, boldness and invention, and by the integrity of his architecture and geste, Kéré gracefully upholds the mission of this Prize.”

Gando Primary School (2001, Gando, Burkina Faso) established the foundation for Kéré’s ideology– building a wellspring with and for a community to fulfill an essential need and redeem social inequities. His response required a dual solution – a physical and contemporary design for a facility that could combat extreme heat and poor lighting conditions with limited resources, and a social resoluteness to overcome incertitude from within the community. He fundraised internationally, while creating invariable opportunities for local citizens, from conception to vocational craftsmanship training. Indigenous clay was fortified with cement to form bricks with bioclimatic 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. The success of this project increased the school’s student body from 120 to 700 students, and catalyzed Teachers’ Housing (2004, Gando, Burkina Faso), an Extension (2008, Gando, Burkina Faso) and Library (2019, Gando, Burkina Faso).

The 2022 Jury Citation states, in part, “He knows, from within, that architecture is not about the object but the objective; not the product, but the process. 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.”

Burkina Institute of Technology
Burkina Institute of Technology, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré

The impact of his work in primary and secondary schools catalyzed the inception of many institutions, each demonstrating sensitivity to bioclimatic environments and sustainability distinctive to locality, and impacting many generations. Startup Lions Campus (2021, Turkana, Kenya), an information and communication technologies campus, uses local quarry stone and stacked towers for passive cooling to minimize the air conditioning required to protect technology equipment. Burkina Institute of Technology (Phase I, 2020, Koudougou, Burkina Faso) 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, and rainwater is collected underground to irrigate mango plantations on the premises.

Gando Primary School Library
Burkina Faso National Assembly, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture

The national confidence and embrace of Kéré has prompted one of the architect’s most pivotal and ambitious projects, the National Assembly of Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), which was commissioned, although remains unbuilt amidst present uncertain times. After the Burkinabè uprising in 2014 destroyed the former structure, the architect designed a stepped and lattice pyramidal building, housing a 127-person assembly hall on the interior, while encouraging informal congregation on the exterior. Enabling new views, physically and metaphorically, this is one piece to a greater master plan, envisioned to include indigenous flora, exhibition spaces, courtyards, and a monument to those who lost their lives in protest of the old regime.

A poetic expression of light is consistent throughout Kéré’s works. Rays of sun filter into buildings, courtyards and intermediary spaces, overcoming harsh midday conditions to offer places of serenity or gathering. The concrete roof of Gando Primary School Library was poured around a grid of traditional clay pots, that once extracted, left openings allowing heat to escape while circular beams of natural light could linger and illuminate the interiors. A facade constructed of eucalyptus wood surrounds the elliptical building, creating flexible outdoor spaces that emit light vertically. Benga Riverside School (2018, Tete, Mozambique) features walls patterned with small recurring voids, allowing light and transparency to evoke feelings of trust from its students. The walls of Centre for Health and Social Welfare (2014, Laongo, Burkina Faso) are adorned with a pattern of framed windows at varying heights to offer picturesque views of the landscape for everyone, from a standing doctor to a sitting visitor to a lying patient.

The Citation continues, “In a world in crisis, amidst changing values and generations, he reminds us of what has been, and will undoubtably continue to be a cornerstone of architectural practice: a sense of community and narrative quality, which he himself is so able to recount with compassion and pride. In this he provides a narrative in which architecture can become a source of continued and lasting happiness and joy.”

Sarbalé Ke
Sarbalé Ke, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré

Kéré’s designs are laced with symbolism and his works outside of Africa are influenced by his upbringing and experiences in Gando. The West African tradition of communing under a sacred tree to exchange ideas, narrate stories, celebrate and assemble, is recurrent throughout. Sarbalé Ke at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (2019, California, United States) translates to “House of Celebration” in his native Bissa language, and references the shape of the hollowing baobab tree, revered in his homeland for its medicinal properties. The Serpentine Pavilion (2017, London, United Kingdom) also takes its central shape from the form of a tree and its disconnected yet curved walls are formed by triangular indigo modules, identifying with a color representing strength in his culture and more personally, a blue boubou garment worn by the architect as a child. The detached roof resonates with that of his buildings in Africa, but inside the pavilion, rainwater funnels into the center of the structure, highlighting water scarcity that is experienced worldwide. The Benin National Assembly (Porto-Novo, Republic of Benin), currently under construction and situated on a public park, is inspired by the palaver tree. While parliament convenes on the inside, citizens may also assemble under the vast shade at the base of the building.

Many of Kéré’s built works are located in Africa, in countries including the Republic of Benin, Burkino Faso, Mali, Togo, Kenya, Mozambique, Togo, and Sudan. Pavilions and installations and have been created in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Significant works also include Xylem at Tippet Rise Art Centre (2019, Montana, United States), Léo Doctors’ Housing (2019, Léo, Burkina Faso), Lycée Schorge Secondary School (2016, Koudougou, Burkina Faso), the National Park of Mali (2010, Bamako, Mali) and Opera Village (Phase I, 2010, Laongo, Burkina Faso).

Kéré established Kéré Foundation in 1998 to serve the inhabitants of Gando through the development of projects, partnerships and fundraising; and Kéré Architecture in 2005 in Berlin, Germany. Kéré is the 51st Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and is a dual citizen of Burkina Faso and Germany.

The following are images of the architecture of Diébédo Francis Kéré.

These images may be downloaded and distributed only in relation to the announcement of Diébédo Francis Kéré being named the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

The photographer/photo libraries/artists must be credited if noted.

All images are copyright of the respective photographers and artists cited, and courtesy of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Click on each image to download a high-resolution file.

Captions for these images are in the 2022 Image Book, available here.
Download the 2022 Media Kit here.

Diébédo Francis Kéré
Diébédo Francis Kéré, photo courtesy of Lars Borges
Gando Primary School
Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Owerkerk
Gando Primary School
Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Owerkerk
Gando Primary School
Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Owerkerk
Gando Primary School
Gando Primary School, photo courtesy of Erik-Jan Owerkerk
National Park of Mali
National Park of Mali, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
National Park of Mali
National Park of Mali, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Opera Village
Opera Village, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Opera Village
Opera Village, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture
Centre for Health and Social Welfare
Centre for Health and Social Welfare, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Centre for Health and Social Welfare
Centre for Health and Social Welfare, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Centre for Health and Social Welfare
Centre for Health and Social Welfare, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Surgical Clinic and Health Centre
Surgical Clinic and Health Centre, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Surgical Clinic and Health Centre
Surgical Clinic and Health Centre, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Lycée Schorge Secondary School
Lycée Schorge Secondary School, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Lycée Schorge Secondary School
Lycée Schorge Secondary School, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Lycée Schorge Secondary School
Lycée Schorge Secondary School, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Lycée Schorge Secondary School
Lycée Schorge Secondary School, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Serpentine Pavilion
Serpentine Pavilion, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Serpentine Pavilion
Serpentine Pavilion, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Serpentine Pavilion
Serpentine Pavilion, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Serpentine Pavilion
Serpentine Pavilion, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Benga Riverside School
Benga Riverside School, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Benga Riverside School
Benga Riverside School, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Léo Doctors’ Housing
Léo Doctors’ Housing, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Léo Doctors’ Housing
Léo Doctors’ Housing, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Sarbalé Ke
Sarbalé Ke, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Sarbalé Ke
Sarbalé Ke, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Xylem
Xylem, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Xylem
Xylem, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Xylem
Xylem, photo courtesy of Iwan Baan
Burkina Institute of Technology
Burkina Institute of Technology, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Burkina Institute of Technology
Burkina Institute of Technology, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Burkina Institute of Technology
Burkina Institute of Technology, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Startup Lions Campus
Startup Lions Campus, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Startup Lions Campus
Startup Lions Campus, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Startup Lions Campus
Startup Lions Campus, photo courtesy of Francis Kéré
Burkina Faso National Assembly
Burkina Faso National Assembly, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture
Burkina Faso National Assembly
Burkina Faso National Assembly, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture
Burkina Faso National Assembly
Burkina Faso National Assembly, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture
Benin National Assembly
Benin National Assembly, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture
Benin National Assembly
Benin National Assembly, rendering courtesy of Kéré Architecture

Ceremony Videos

Below are links to view ceremony videos for the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
These videos, featuring full-length and highlight reels, are also available by
visiting the individual Laureate sections.

 

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal
2021 Laureates
Online Ceremony
Ceremony videos

 

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
2020 Laureates
Online Ceremony
Ceremony videos

 

Arata Isozaki
2019 Laureate
Château de Versailles, Versailles, France
Ceremony videos

 

Balkrishna Doshi
2018 Laureate
Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
Ceremony videos

 

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta
2017 Laureates
State Guest House, Akasaka Palace, Tokyo, Japan
Ceremony videos

 

Alejandro Aravena
2016 Laureate
United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York
Ceremony videos

 

Frei Otto
2015 Laureate
The New World Center, Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Ceremony videos

 

Shigeru Ban
2014 Laureate
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Ceremony videos

 

Toyo Ito
2013 Laureate
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum,
Boston, Massachusetts
Ceremony videos

 

Wang Shu
2012 Laureate
The Great Hall of the People, Beijing, 
The People’s Republic of China
Ceremony videos

 

Eduardo Souto de Moura
2011 Laureate
The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Washington D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa
2010 Laureates
Immigration Museum, Ellis Island, New York Bay
Ceremony videos

 

Peter Zumthor
2009 Laureate
Palace of the Buenos Aires City Legislature,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ceremony videos
 

Jean Nouvel
2008 Laureate
The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Richard Rogers
2007 Laureate
Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace, London, United Kingdom
Ceremony videos

 

Paulo Mendes da Rocha
2006 Laureate
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Ceremony videos


Thom Mayne
2005 Laureate
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois
Ceremony videos


Zaha Hadid
2004 Laureate
State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Ceremony videos


Jørn Utzon
2003 Laureate
Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, Spain
Ceremony videos


Glenn Murcutt
2002 Laureate
Michelangelo’s Campidoglio, Rome, Italy
Ceremony videos

 

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron
2001 Laureates
Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia
Ceremony videos


Rem Koolhaas
2000 Laureate
Jerusalem Archaeological Park, Israel
Ceremony videos


 
 
 
 

Norman Foster
1999 Laureate
Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany
Ceremony videos

 

Renzo Piano
1998 Laureate
The White House, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Sverre Fehn
1997 Laureate
The construction site of the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Ceremony videos

 

Rafael Moneo
1996 Laureate
The construction site of the Getty Center, Los Angeles, California
Ceremony videos

 

Tadao Ando
1995 Laureate
Grand Trianon and the Palace of Versailles, France
Ceremony videos

 

Christian de Portzamparc
1994 Laureate
The Commons, Columbus, Indiana
Ceremony videos

 

Fumihiko Maki
1993 Laureate
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Ceremony videos

 

Alvaro Siza
1992 Laureate
Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, Illinois
Ceremony videos

 

Robert Venturi
1991 Laureate
Palacio de Iturbide, Mexico City, Mexico
Ceremony videos

 

Aldo Rossi
1990 Laureate
Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy
Ceremony videos

 

Frank Gehry
1989 Laureate
Todai-ji Buddhist Temple, Nara, Japan
Ceremony videos

 

Gordon Bunshaft &
Oscar Niemeyer
1988 Laureates
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Bunshaft ceremony videos
Niemeyer ceremony videos

 

Kenzo Tange
1987 Laureate
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Ceremony videos

 

Gottfried Böhm
1986 Laureate
Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, United Kingdom
Ceremony videos

 

Hans Hollein
1985 Laureate
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, California
Ceremony videos

 

Richard Meier
1984 Laureate
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

I.M. Pei
1983 Laureate
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Ceremony videos

 

Kevin Roche
1982 Laureate
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
Ceremony videos

 

James Stirling
1981 Laureate
National Building Museum, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Luis Barragán
1980 Laureate
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

 

Philip Johnson
1979 Laureate
Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.
Ceremony videos

Archive

The Pritzker Architecture Prize, founded in 1979, seeks to maintain many of the documents, images, videos, and other materials related to its history. If you have a specific query about rights and reproductions or other media-related questions, please contact Director of Communications Eunice Kim. For all other inquiries, please contact Executive Director Manuela Lucá-Dazio.

Archive - Richard Rogers
Terminal 4, Madrid Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain, 2005, Richard Rogers