Diébédo Francis Kéré describes the secondary school he has designed in his home country of Burkina Faso as “a project about architecture, people, and dealing with two different cultures.”  The project won the 2012 Global Holcim Gold Award.

This school project, in one of the world’s poorest countries, aims to provide further education to the inhabitants of a rural area. Gando, with a population of 3000, has no secondary education facilities and lies on the southern plains of Burkina Faso, some 200km from the capital Ouagadougou. Diverse design aspects of the project consider the challenging weather conditions where summer temperatures peak at 40°C. The natural ventilation cooling effect is enhanced by routing air through underground tubes, planting vegetation, and the use of double-skin roofs and façades to achieve a 5°C thermal reduction. The enhanced indoor comfort and conditions are far more conducive to education.

Francis Kéré is principal of Kéré Architecture in Berlin, Germany. The firm is internationally recognized for its role in designing and constructing community supported sustainable education facilities.

Kéré is currently the Dunlop Visiting Design Critic in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is teaching a design studio called “Urban Development and Housing for Low Income Groups in the Rapidly Growing City of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.” Kéré and his students will travel to Burkina Faso in mid-October for a site visit and will present design proposals at the end of the fall 2012 semester.

For more information about The Holcim Awards