This phrase caught my eye during Diébédo Francis Kéré's speech at the AAICO (Architecture and Art International Congress), which took place in Porto, Portugal from September 3 to 8. After being introduced by none other than Eduardo Souto de Moura, Kéré began his speech with the simplicity and humility that guides his work. His best-known works were built in remote places, where materials are scarce and the workforce is of the residents themselves, using local resources and techniques.
Kéré Architecture has recently completed the scenography for “Racism. The Invention of Human Races,” an exhibition at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden. The atmospheres within each of the three spaces are unique yet harmonious, aiming to connect “the rooms’ architecture with the rooms’ theme.” Using a variety of high-quality materials and engaging structures, the journey hopes to show a conflict between people’s desires for stability and the organic need for social transformation, emphasizing the charm of the temporary and importance of conversation.
Tippet Rise Art Center has announced the commissioning of architect Francis Kéré to design a 1,900-square-foot pavilion for the center’s 10,000-acre grounds in Montana, USA. Envisioned as a “communal gathering space nestled among a cluster of aspen and cottonwood trees,” new renderings by Kéré Architecture depict the scheme featuring a locally-sourced log canopy.
As reported by the Star, the structure has been purchased by Kuala Lumpur-based Ilham Gallery, who are now searching for a permanent site of the pavilion in Malaysia.
Architect Diébedo Francis Kéré was named Prince Claus Laureate for 2017, highlighting the cultural value and importance of beautiful, sustainable and empowering architecture.
Kéré received the award for his “design and construction of buildings of great beauty that meet people’s needs; …for honoring people’s pride in their cultural traditions and techniques, …for inventively combining relevant factors from two different knowledge systems to achieve practical solutions of global relevance and creating an exchange of ideas between Africa and Europe; …and for his ethical commitment to creating inspiring architecture that improves living conditions and uplifts communities...”
The Design Museum in London has announced the shortlist projects in the running for the 2017 edition of their prestigious Beazley Design of the Year award. Now in its tenth year, the award was established to “celebrate design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year.”
This year, a total of 62 projects have been nominated across six categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Graphics, Product and Transport – including 13 projects from the Architecture category. A winner from each category and the overall winner will be announced on January 25, 2018. Previous winners of the architecture category include: IKEA’s Better Shelter last year (also the overall winner), Alejandro Aravena's UC Innovation Center in 2015, and Zaha Hadid Architects’ Heydar Aliyev Center (overall winner in 2014).
See all of the architecture nominees below.
London’s annual temporary architecture pavilion spectacular has returned. Each summer the Serpentine Pavilion program selects an accomplished architect who has yet to create work in the United Kingdom, and asks them to build a temporary shelter on the gallery's lawn. The resulting structure is erected in June and dismantled in October.
This year’s offering is designed by Francis Kéré—the first pavilion designed by an African Architect to grace Kensington Gardens. Kéré’s project is composed of a series of curving blue walls shaded by an elliptical cantilevering wood and steel canopy. Thus far the design has been universally lauded by critics; read on to find out why they thought the project was so appealing.
Following the opening of the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion, designed this year by Diébédo Francis Kéré (Kéré Architecture), photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to London. Designed to mimic a tree, or a canopy of trees, the wooden structure has been designed to fuse cultural references from Kéré's home town of Gando in Burkino Faso with more "experimental" construction techniques. His ambition is that the pavilion becomes a social condenser – "a symbol of storytelling and togetherness."
The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the list of participants invited to contribute to the event’s second edition, which will be held from September 16 to January 7, 2018 in Chicago. More than 100 architecture firms and artists have been selected by 2017 artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, founders of Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee, to design exhibitions that will be displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center and throughout the city.
“Our goal for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is to continue to build on the themes and ideas presented in the first edition,” explained Johnston and Lee. “We hope to examine, through the work of the chosen participants, the continuous engagement with questions of history and architecture as an evolutionary practice.”
In Wake of Revolution, Francis Kéré Envisions a Transparent New Architecture for the Burkina Faso Parliament Building
On October 30, 2014, as Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré was preparing to make an amendment to the country’s constitution that would eliminate presidential term limits and allow him to extend his 27 year rule, tens of thousands of Burkinabé citizens in the capital city of Ouagadougou broke through police lines to set fire to several government buildings, including city hall, the ruling party headquarters, and the National Assembly Building. The following day, Compaoré stepped down, ushering in a new era of democratic rule and resulting in the country’s first ever pluralistic and competitive Presidential election in 2015.
But the revolution left the former government complex in tatters and in need of a clear direction forward both culturally and architecturally. A former French colony, Burkina Faso is home to 19 million people, 50 different ethnicities and more than 60 languages. The country would require a new Parliament that could serve as a common ground for these diverse groups, while providing the technology and education necessary to create opportunities and a better quality of life for all Burkinabés.
To find this solution, last year, the new head of Parliament approached architect and Burkina Faso native Francis Kéré to develop a building and masterplan for the Assembly Building. The new building, in the architect’s words, would need to be one that could “not only address the core democratic values of transparency, openness and equality, but could also become a catalyst for growth and development for the capital city of Ouagadougou as a whole.”
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.
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.
Kéré Architecture has placed first in a competition to design a protective shelter on the UNESCO-protected Meroe Royal Baths in Sudan, North Africa. Believed to have served nearby palaces from the great African Kingdom of Kush (now modern-day Sudan), the Meroe Royal Baths were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and is the focus of joint research by the German Archaeological Institute and the National Corporation for Antiques and Museums. Still marked by temples, palaces and over two hundred pyramids, the ruins of Meroe are a testimony to the exchanges of culture between the Mediterranean and Africa. Find out more about the proposal after the break.
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.
"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.
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.
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