Currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, Award-winning African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has created Colorscape, a installation made from steel and brightly-colored fiber, to accompany his first solo show in the United States. The exhibition is titled The Architecture of Francis Kéré: Building with Community, and features of a retrospective of the architect’s career that includes material artifacts, tools and scale-models created for stand-out projects in both Africa and Europe.
Doing architecture is listening. - Norman Foster
Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Diébédo Francis Kéré and three other great architects come together in this Louisiana Channel video to share their thoughts on how to design for different cultures. For most of them, understanding context, collaborating with locals and using architecture to address larger social issues are what makes global architecture a success.
Kéré Architecture’s “Place for Gathering” exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial creates a meeting place at the entrance to the Chicago Cultural Center. Made from a locally sourced material (wood), the exhibition emits a fresh, natural smell, and creates a place for people to meet, connect and share “differing cultural narratives, traditions and aspirations," writes Kéré in the official Chicago Biennale Guidebook.
Selected by ArchDaily Editors as one of their favorite exhibitions at the Biennial, “Place for Gathering” is based on two themes that are central to the work of Francis Kéré: “maximizing local resources and facilitating the exchange of ideas and knowledge." Listen to Kéré explain the inspiration and philosophy behind the exhibition in the video above.
At the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the theme selected by directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda was deliberately wide in scope, with the expectation that more than one hundred exhibitors would each bring their own perspective on what is “The State of the Art of Architecture.” But where does that leave one of architecture's most widely adopted missions of the 21st century: sustainability? In this article, originally published on her blog Architectstasy as “Chicago Architecture Biennial: The State of the Art of Sustainability,” Jessica A S Letaw delves into five projects that take on sustainability in the context of Chicago's biennial.
At North America's inaugural Architecture Biennial in Chicago, “The State of the Art of Architecture,” architectural firms and practices from all six inhabited continents have been invited to display their work. Spanning all sizes and kinds of projects, the Biennial is showcasing solutions to design problems from spiderwebs to social housing.
US buildings use around 40% of all the country’s energy consumption. It is a disconcerting truth that even if every new building starting construction tomorrow were to be net-zero energy and net-zero water, we’d still be on a crash course, draining more naturally-available resources than our one planet can permanently sustain. In this environment, architectural designers have a special responsibility to educate themselves about innovative sustainable design techniques, from those that have worked for thousands of years to those that, as the Biennial’s title hopefully suggests, are state of the art.
So what does the Biennial have to say about sustainability? Five projects on display demonstrate different approaches at five different scales: materials, buildings, resources, cities, and the globe.
On the Louisiana Channel's latest installment, Burkinabé architect Diébédo Francis Kéré discusses his "Canopy" installation, currently on view at the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, and shares thoughts on the impact of architecture. Designed with a sense of freedom that encourages users to interact with the installation as they wish, Kere's Canopy serves as a flexible gathering space within the museum that is reminiscent of "AFRICA."
“They’re free to use the space like they behave, like they feel," says Kere. "Architecture is about people."
The exhibition AFRICA is the third and last in the series architecture, culture and identity. It focuses on the area called sub-Saharan Africa – the part of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Louisiana’s wish to mount this exhibition has its origin in a very simple observation: despite the fact that Africa is the world’s second-largest continent, surprisingly little contemporary culture from there comes our way.
As the legacy of the Cold War fades and Western preeminence gradually becomes a thing of the past, population booms in Asia followed by the growth of a vast non-western middle class have seriously challenged the Western perception of the world. The East has become the focal point of the world’s development.
If East Asia is the present focal point of this development, the future indisputably lies in Africa. Long featuring in the Western consciousness only as a land of unending suffering, it is now a place of rapidly falling poverty, increasing investment, and young populations. It seems only fair that Africa’s rich cultures and growing population (predicted to reach 1.4 billion by 2025) finally take the stage, but it’s crucially important that Africa’s future development is done right. Subject to colonialism for centuries, development in the past was characterized by systems that were designed for the benefit of the colonists. Even recently, resource and energy heavy concrete buildings, clothes donations that damage native textile industries, and reforestation programs that plant water hungry and overly flammable trees have all been seen, leaving NGOs open to accusations of well-meaning ignorance.
Fortunately, a growth in native practices and a more sensible, sensitive approach from foreign organizations has led to the rise of architectural groups creating buildings which learn from and improve Africa. Combining local solutions with the most appropriate Western ideas, for the first time these new developments break down the perception of monolithic Africa and have begun engaging with individual cultures; using elements of non-local architecture when they improve a development rather than creating a pastiche of an imagined pan-African culture. The visions these groups articulate are by no means the same - sustainable rural development, high end luxury residences and dignified civic constructions all feature - but they have in common their argument for a bright future across Africa. We’ve collected seven pioneers of Africa’s architectural awakening - read on after the break for the full article and infographic.
The Schelling Architecture Foundation has announced Juhani Pallasmaa and Diébédo Francis Kéré as the recipients of its Architecture Theory and Architecture Prizes, respectively, for 2014. Awarded once every two years since 1994, the Schelling Prizes are prestigious awards that historically have been reasonable predictors of the Pritzker Prize, with Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor, Kazuyo Sejima and Wang Shu all receiving a Schelling Architecture Prize some years before their Pritzker Prize.
This year, the Schelling Prize's "indigenous ingenuity" theme was inspired by the 2012 Theory winner Kenneth Frampton's theory of Critical Regionalism, with the prize asking "how can inventive and directly comprehensible architecture satisfy human needs in an appealing way?"
More on the winners after the break
"Architecture is much more than art. And it is by far more than just building buildings" says award winning Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Kéré. In the latest video from Louisiana Channel, Berlin-based Francis Kéré deliberates on the purpose of architecture in a changing society and the influence exerted by his home nation, Burkina Faso. For Kéré, context and medium are key: "I try to use local material: mostly clay and wood, to create buildings that are modern," he says. Kéré's clay modernism represents a new Burkina Faso, using natural and renewable materials as shown in School Library Gando. "If we build with clay we will have a better future, because we will use the resources we have," he adds.
"My people are proud, and that can deliver a lot of energy," says Kéré, optimistic for the future of architecture in Burkina Faso. Watch the video above to find out more about Kéré's approach to his European-based African practice, and read on after the break for ArchDaily's own Interview with Kéré from July.
Award-winning African architect Diébédo Francis Kéré is renowned for his cross-cultural approach to architecture. Although his office, Kéré Architecture, is based in Berlin, many of his projects are carried out in his native West African country Burkina Faso, where he is known for incorporating local materials and talent into his designs.
In this TED Talk, Aga Khan Award-winning architect Diébédo Francis Kéré explains how to build a community with clay. With his firm Kéré Architecture, the Burkina Faso native has achieved international renown by using local building materials and techniques to engage and improve local expertise. Watch as explains how he applied his personal success to benefit the small African village he grew up in.