Diébédo Francis Kéré
The award-winning architect from Gando, Burkina Faso, became the first African architect to design the prestigious Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Central London in 2017. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is a temporary building designed annually by a leading architect. The son of a tribal chief, 54-year-old Kere is a graduate of the Technical University of Berlin, where he studied Architecture. He also received training as a carpenter, and by 18, won a scholarship to study woodwork in Germany, where he discovered his love for architecture and switched over from carpentry.
The tenured professor at Harvard is mostly based in Berlin, Germany, where he runs the successful practice Kere Architecture with about 12 employees. He is also very involved in the developmental efforts taking place in his homeland, and in 1998, he helped construct public school buildings in Burkina Faso using locally available materials and manpower with an ecologically sustainable approach. Some of Kere’s other important works include the permanent exhibition space at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva, Switzerland; the Zhou Shan Harbour Development, China, and the National Park, Bamako, Mali. He is a winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.