Berlin-based Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré Adds Milwaukee’s Marcus Prize
Enlarge image Robert Greenstreet, Carolyn Armenta Davis, Diébédo Francis Kéré and Chris Cornelius (© Carolyn Armenta Davis) Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré delivered his Marcus Prize public lecture, Step by Step, to a packed hall at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee-School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP), Thursday, March 29, 2012. Earlier in the week Kéré co-directed a graduate studio project at SARUP.
A graduate of and former instructor at Berlin’s Technical University, Kéré was born in Burkina Faso. He won the 2011 Marcus Prize for his sustainable, indigenous-inspired tropical architecture which utilizes local materials, local labor, and basic low-energy construction. In his home village of Gando, Kéré designed and villagers built an award-winning ‘sustainable educational complex’ containing a primary and a secondary school, plus housing for teachers, and a library.
The Marcus Prize salutes an “emerging talent” in architecture. The prize’s 2011 jury selected Kéré from a group 30 nominees in 13 countries. One juror noted, “His desire to make sophisticated and uncompromised buildings with so few resources is an empowering and optimistic lesson to share with students.” Kéré is the fourth recipient of biennial Marcus Prize and the second Berliner to be honored. In 2007 Barkow Leibinger won. The Marcus Corporation Foundation established Marcus Prize in 2004 and it provides a USD $50,000 for the architect and USD $50,000 for the University of Wisconsin-SARUP to run the competition. Kéré’s Marcus Prize ceremony is May 15, 2012 in Milwaukee, WI.
During his Milwaukee lecture on March 29, Kéré also told the audience that same day his Gando secondary school had won the top 2012 Global Holcim Award. The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation’s triennial prize honors architecture that expands conventional notions of sustainable building and balances environmental, social and economic performance. Kéré won the Gold prize of USD $200,000 over 15 finalists.
Kéré is also heralded as the architect who is transforming director Christoph Schlingensief’s "Operndorf Afrika" dreams into reality. Schlingensief died August 2010. The first Opera Village in Laongo, Burkina Fasoopened October 2011.
Architect Diébédo Francis Kéré will be honored at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) convention May 2012 in Washington, D.C. with his investiture into the AIA College of Fellows. Investiture will bestow upon him the status of Honorary Fellow, American Institute of Architects/HonFAIA, one of the highest honors the AIA gives to international colleagues.
Carolyn Armenta Davis is an international architectural historian, curator, and lecturer focusing on the contemporary Black|African Diaspora. Davis is also an award-winning broadcast writer-producer; philanthropy-foundation advisor; business consultant; and a world traveler.