Diébédo Francis Kéré, a Burkina Faso-born architect, is the first African to win the reputable Pritzker Prize, also known as the Nobel Prize of Architecture. His architectural practice is very distinct and has been recognized both locally and internationally. He is mostly recognised for his pioneering approach to design and sustainable modes of construction. Kéré's desire to become an architect stems from a desire to give back to the community in which he grew up, as well as a belief in the transformational power of beauty.
His very first building, the Gando Primary School, which he designed, raised funds for, and built in collaboration with the residents of his hometown while still a student at the Technical University of Berlin, won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004, bringing him critical acclaim from the start of his career. In 2005, he founded his architectural practice, Kéré Architecture, as well as the Kéré Foundation; a non-profit organisation that pursues projects in Gando.
Returning to old procedures was kéré's groundbreaking approach to building. He used local resources(clay) to build schools instead of using concrete, a common but expensive material in Burkina Faso. His designs include schools, health facilities, housing, civic buildings and public spaces across Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Kenya, Mozambique and Sudan.
In 2017, Kere became the first African architect to design the Serpentine pavilion in London's Hyde Park, a prestigious assignment given to a world-famous architect every year. He was also one of the architects behind Geneva's International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum and has held professorships at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale School of Architecture and the Swiss Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, along with solo museum shows in Munich and Philadelphia.
In response to his most recent Wins; The Pritzker Prize, Kere told press agency AFP that he was the "happiest man on this planet" to become the 51st recipient of the prestigious accolade. He stated that he is "totally convinced that everyone deserves quality", not only the rich. Also noting that this is his way of doing things, of using his architecture to create structures to serve people, not only people but also to serve humanity at large.