Architecture from Burkina Faso

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Top Stories of the Year Exploring the Architectural Identity of Local Communities

Local communities are more than just a collection of buildings and infrastructure. They possess a distinctive architectural character that mirrors their history, culture, and values. As part of our year in review, we take a deep dive into the top narratives that examine the architectural identity of different local communities.

Diébédo Francis Kéré Selected as 2023 Praemium Imperiale Laureate for Architecture

Pritzker Prize winner Diébédo Francis Kéré has been named the 2023 Praemium Imperiale laureate for architecture. The annual award, presented by the Japan Art Association, recognizes and awards 6 artists from different creative fields: architecture, music, painting, sculpture, and theatre or film. Francis Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based office Kéré Architecture, has received the prestigious award for his influence on African and global architecture, engaging local communities and site-specific materials to create innovative design and engineering solutions.

Motifs and Ornamentations: Inspirations Behind the Colors of African Traditional Architecture

African societies' cultures are intrinsically linked to color. From fabrics to clothing, products, sculptures, and architecture, various societies explore rich and vibrant colors that are vivid, expressive, and joyful. Through different shades, hues, contrasts, motifs, and ornamentations, colors are embraced as an unspoken language, a palette for storytelling, and a sense of cultural identity. Although the use of color in African societies may seem decorative on the surface, it is extremely symbolic, with a deep sense of history behind it. Traditional African architecture is a prime example. Ethnic societies have endowed their homes with color through ornaments and motifs, expressed it with religious and cultural patterns, employed it on facades to tell familial stories, and created labyrinths of communal architecture that not only celebrate color but explore its ethnic meaning.

The Painted Houses of Tiébélé: A Model for Communal Collaboration

In the south of Burkina Faso, sharing borders with the northern environs of Ghana is Tiébélé; a small village exhibiting fractal patterns of circular and rectangular buildings, housing one of the oldest ethnic groups in West Africa; the Kassena tribe. With vernacular houses dating back to the 15th century, the village’s buildings strike a distinctive character through its symbol-laden painted walls. It is an architecture of wall decoration where the community uses their building envelope as a canvas for geometric shapes and symbols of local folklore, expressing the culture’s history and unique heritage. This architecture is the product of a unique form of communal collaboration, where all men and women in the community are tasked with contributing to the construction and finishing of any new house. This practice serves as a transmission point for Kassena culture across generations.

Cross-Cultural Collaboration: A Tool for Imagining Africa's Future

As Venice Architecture Biennale presents its 18th edition titled "The Laboratory of the Future", it centers on Africa as a place of exploration that will offer a template for solutions to the world. According to its curator Lesley Lokko, the Biennale explores entrenched concepts such as climate, land rights, decolonization, and cultures. It challenges us to question how Africa's history can be a radical tool for imagination and reminds us of Stephen Covey's statement: “Live out of your imagination, not just your history.” The biennale's title is probably the most ambitious question in years. It forces us to revisit all boundaries of the continent's historical societies, explore the influence of imposed colonial borders on them, and examine the dual identities they gave birth to. We must consider how these identities can be instruments of creativity, and, more importantly, recognize that every African society has a unique point of view. This viewpoint yearns for cross-cultural collaboration as a powerful tool for imagination.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize Releases Ceremony Video to Honor 2022 Laureate, Francis Kéré

Honoring the 2022 Laureate, the Burkinabé architect Francis Kére, The Pritzker Prize releases a ceremony video from the recently opened Marshall Building at the LSE, designed by the 2020 Pritzker Laureates Yvonne Farrell, and Shelley McNamara. The documentary includes remarks by the awardee, Tom Pritzker, and previous Laureates such as Alejandro Aravena, Norman Foster, Anne Lacaton, and Jean-Philippe Vassal. This ceremony presents Kéré with the 2022 Pritzker Prize medallion, the highest honor in architecture, certifying him as a Laureate for his extraordinary work with communities and architectural ingenuity.

In Times of Need: Architects Stepping Up in Humanitarian Crisis

Hard times bring people together. In recent years we have seen how collective work can be a driving force to help those affected by natural or man-made disasters. After a disaster or displacement, a safe physical environment is often essential. Therefore, the need for coordination becomes a key factor in assisting people in times of need.

The 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition Opens to the Public with an Exploration of the World's Mysteries

The 23rd Triennale Milano International Exhibition has officially opened its doors to the public today. Titled Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries, the Triennale is displaying a selection of artwork and installations designed by 400 international architects and designers, questioning "what we don’t know we don’t know". Celebrating 100 years since its foundation, this year's exhibition presents a new way of looking at the mysteries of the world, seeing it as an opportunity to investigate subjects such as the furthest universe to dark matter and the origin of our conscience.

“Architecture Is Much More Than Art, and It Is by Far More Than Just Buildings:” in Conversation With Francis Kéré

Meet 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Francis Kéré, Burkina Faso-born black architect, in an interview about his architectural philosophy, with Louisiana Channel. As the official statement of the Pritzker Architecture Prize notes, “Through buildings that demonstrate beauty, modesty, and invention, and by the integrity of his architecture and geste, Kéré gracefully upholds the mission of this Prize”, continually “empowering and transforming communities through the process of architecture.”

Why Francis Kéré Won the Pritzker Prize?

Last Tuesday, March 15, Francis Kéré became the first African architect to win the Pritzker Prize, the most important award in the architecture discipline.

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