AD Interviews: Diébédo Francis Kéré / Kéré Architecture

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 , where he is known for incorporating local materials and talent into his designs.

“I am working between two continents or between two cultures. And what I’m doing is trying to bridge the gap,” Kére told us at the opening of the 2014 Venice Biennale. Kére has carried out projects such as School Library Gando, Centre for Earth Architecture and the National Park of Mali.

In this interview, Kéré explains his two-continent approach to architecture, what architecture means to him and what “absorbing modernity” means for Burkina Faso.

Three Projects That Transform Low-Tech Materials Into Innovative Design

Top: Educational Building In Mozambique / Bergen School of Architecture Students. Middle: / . Bottom: Umubano Primary School / MASS Design Group

The following article is presented by Materials, ArchDaily’s new US product catalog.

How many times in the last year have you heard 3d printing mentioned? What about double-skinned curtain walls or “smart” buildings? High-tech materials almost always seem to dominate the conversation – at least in architectural circles. But using the latest invention in material technology usually does not make a building “innovative.” More often than not, it just makes it expensive and flashy.

Low-tech materials like lumber, stone and brick, on the other hand, are often overlooked, even though the use of local and locally produced materials offers the lowest possible carbon footprint. And while these common materials may seem boring, with a bit of imagination and technical skill, an architect can transform these materials into something fresh. With that in mind, check out three truly innovative projects which use low-tech materials in different and exciting ways.

Siza, Souto de Moura, Kuma Reflect on Their ‘Sensing Spaces’ Exhibitions

As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.

The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura’s Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.

See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break

Seven Architects Transform London’s RA into Multi-Sensory Experience

Installation (Blue Pavilion) by Pezo von Ellrichshausen. © , , 2014. Photography: James Harris

This past week London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) celebrated the opening of, what many claim to be, one of the most “epic” and “enchanting” exhibitions of 2014: Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. With a series of large scale installations by some of profession’s most acclaimed architects, such as Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Kengo Kuma, the immersive exhibition creates an atmosphere that encourages visitors to become part of the experience and open their minds to the sensory realm of architecture.

“Architecture is so often the background to our lives,” stated curator Kate Goodwin. “We often don’t think about it – it’s practical and functional, but when does it do something more?”

A preview of the installations, after the break.

In Progress: School Library Gando / Kere Architecture

Courtesy of Kere Architecture

Architects: Kere Architecture
Location: ,
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Kere Architecture

Centre for Earth Architecture / Kere Architecture

© Iwan Baan

Architect: Kere Architecture
Location: , Mali
Photographs: Iwan Baan

National Park of Mali / Kere Architecture

© Iwan Baan

Architect: Kere ArchitectureDiébédo Francis Kéré
Location: , Mali
Client: AKDN /AKTC
Project Team: Diébédo Francis Kéré, Isabelle McKinnon, Claudia Buhmann, Olivier Gondouin, Emanuela Smiglak, Ines Bergdolt
Landscape Design: Planning Partners, SA
Structural Engineer: Birad SARL (concrete), SAMKO Turkey (roofing)
Construction Supervision: AKTC (Roberto Fabbro, Souleymane Diallo, Manuel Mora Sánchez, Hamed el Biblawy) in coordination with 
Plant Engineering: AKTC (Sylvain Fovet)
Project Area: 3000 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Iwan Baan