Diébédo Francis Kéré has been awarded the 2021 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, with judges citing his communal approach to design and use of sustainable materials.
Francis Kéré (Astrid Eckert)
Kéré was born in Burkina Faso in 1965, founded Kéré Architecture in Berlin in 2005 and has worked on projects across four continents, including the Gando School and extensions in Burkina Faso, the Burkina Faso National Assembly, the Mopti Centre For Earth Architecture in Mali, the Zhou Shan Harbour Development in China.
Since 1966, the award has been made by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Previous winners include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito and Sir David Adjaye.
Jim Ryan, the University of Virginia’s president, said: "Although circumstances preclude a traditional in-person celebration, they do not diminish our admiration for Kéré’s innovative work and invaluable contributions, not only to the field of architecture but to our society as a whole."
Ila Berman, dean at Virginia’s school of architecture, said: "Beginning with Francis Kéré’s original work in Gando and throughout his acclaimed career, he has not only taught the world that architecture and education are for everyone, but also has exemplified how architecture can build capacity in communities, foster environmental and cultural resilience, and inspire creativity while immeasurably serving the public good."
Top image: The Burkina Faso National Assembly in Ouagadougou (Kéré Architecture)