Aedes Architecture Forum Francis Kéré Exhibition 2021, Germany Design Show News

Francis Kéré Exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum

25 June 2021

Kéré Architecture, Berlin

Arbre à Palabres

In cooperation with AW Architektur & Wohnen

Benin National Assembly, in planning. Architecture: Kéré Architecture. © Kéré Architecture

Exhibition: 17 July – 9 September 2021

Venue: Aedes Architecture Forum, Christinenstr. 18–19, 10119 Berlin

Opening Hours: Tue–Fri 11am–6.30pm, Sun–Mon 1–5pm und Sat, 17 July 2021, 1–5pm

Francis Kéré, architect, Berlin:
Francis Kéré architect Berlin, Germany
photograph © Urban Zintel

Francis Kéré Exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum Berlin

Francis Kéré is a precise observer, excellent visionary and builder – his architecture is of radical simplicity. The architect, who was born in Burkina Faso and lives in Berlin, uniquely combines the culture and habits of the African and European continents. For his inspiring approach to architecture as well as his exceptional and distinct style, Kéré Architecture will be honoured with the AW Architect of the Year 2021 award. The installation Arbre à Palabres – the tree under which people meet to consult, to talk and to learn from each other – forms the programmatic context for the projects presented, such as the buildings for the national assemblies of Benin and Burkina Faso, the National Park of Mali, the Freie Waldorfschule Weilheim, the Burkina Institute of Technology or the Taylor Bridge in Mannheim, among others.

Benin National Assembly, Kéré Architecture:
Benin National Assembly building design by Kéré Architecture
image © Kéré Architecture

Arbre à Palabres presents planned and realized projects that illustrate how Francis Kéré and his team use social, political and construction knowledge from across West Africa to arrive at designs that focus on a building’s purpose and the people who use it. Under the expansive installation of an abstracted kapok tree, the projects are presented in three categories: Civic Dialogue, Creative Exchange and Inspired Education. Civic Dialogue brings together projects that explore ancient democratic practices of West African social structures, Creative Exchange showcases spaces that facilitate a distinct kind of cultural dialogue found in vernacular architecture and Inspired Education addresses a cornerstone of Kéré Architecture’s practice – namely educational infrastructures that embrace good design as an integral part of the learning experience.

Francis Kéré architect in Germany:
Francis Kéré architect Berlin, Germany
photograph © Urban Zintel

  1. Civic Dialogue

Inspired by the democratic practice of West African societies, dating back to pre-colonial times, of holding court, meetings and public conversations under a kapok tree, Kéré Architecture has designed civic and public structures allowing for a contemporary version of this practice. This is clearly visible in the typology of the design of the Benin National Assembly, which is in the planning stage, in the showcasing of landscapes from all over the country in the National Assembly of Burkina Faso, or by providing a green square, where all kinds of public exchange can take place in the National Park of Mali.

  1. Creative Exchange
    Some traditional building forms in West Africa are designed to foster a certain kind of dialogue. A prime example is the Toguna, a communal meeting place found in different variations throughout the region. These structures have low ceilings often made of wood and hay, ensuring that inside one can only stoop or sit, but not stand upright, making it virtually impossible to become physically aggressive in the course of the meeting. Kéré Architecture harnesses this ability of architecture to gently guide people towards peaceful gatherings for spaces of creative exchange, such as the visitors’ pavilion Xylem in Montana or the premises for a foundation in Switzerland aimed at businesses and cultural practitioners from all over Africa and the African diaspora.
  2. Inspired Education

Ever since Kéré Architecture’s first school building, the Gando Primary School, the studio has been dedicated to designing educational infrastructure geared towards learning far beyond the content being taught. The design of the building and the choice of materials used in its construction follow a methodology aimed at creating a comfortable learning environment in terms of temperature and air quality while, according to Francis Kéré: “inspiring the mind to soar and the learners to dream.” Most of these projects also allow for a continuous expansion of the campus as the need for infrastructure increases with each class and the growing number of students. This is the case with the Burkina Institute of Technology, the Startup Lions Campus in Kenya or the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School in Gando. Currently, Kéré Architecture is applying the experiences from building its inspiring schools in West and East Africa to upcoming projects in Europe, including the Freie Waldorfschule Weilheim, just outside Munich.

Francis Kéré, architect in Berlin:
Francis Kéré architect Berlin, Germany
photo © Urban Zintel


The three project categories are presented in an expansive installation corresponding to the design motif of the “tree structure” of the Benin National Assembly. It is integrated into the exhibition space of Aedes and corresponds in a slightly modified form to the “trunk” of the actual building upholding the crown, the Assembly. It is reminiscent of the trunk and magnificent roots of a kapok tree and gives visitors the feeling of coming together under its canopy. Exhibits are presented in the structure of this installation and benches are built in elsewhere, which – like the whole building – are intended to provide a place to rest and meet.

National Park of Mali, Kéré Architecture:
Park of the National Park of Mali building Africa
photo © Iwan Baan

Francis Kéré

After training as a carpenter, Francis Kéré studied architecture at the TU Berlin and founded Kéré Architecture in 2005. He works – as he states – “at the interface of utopia and pragmatism” and, as an architect, he is committed to the built environment at all levels. His best-known buildings include the Opera Village in cooperation with Christoph Schlingensief in Ouagadougou, the National Park of Mali, the Centre for Earth Architecture in Mali for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the Serpentine Pavilion in London and the Primary School in his home village of Gando, for which Kéré received the Aga Khan Award in 2004. New buildings such as the Benin National Assembly in Porto-Novo and the Startup Lions Campus in Turkana County, Kenya, are currently being realised.

Francis Kéré architect:
Francis Kéré architect Berlin, Germany
photo © Urban Zintel

AW Architect of the Year 2021
“With the AW Architect of the Year award, the Hamburg architecture magazine has been honouring the talent of an outstanding architectural personality who demonstrates a mindset of creative thinking, holistic design approaches and inspiring social commitment every year since 2012,” explains Thomas Garms, Editor-in-Chief of AW Architektur & Wohnen. “With his ideas and projects, Francis Kéré has caused a sensation and received worldwide recognition over the past 20 years as an international pioneer and architectural exception – in his profession and beyond.” Previous award winners include MVRDV, Bjarke Ingels Group, gmp Architekten, Dorte Mandrup and Snøhetta.

AW Architektur & Wohnen, based in Hamburg, is one of Germany’s leading magazines for architecture, design, living, garden design and travel. For more than 60 years, AW Architektur & Wohnen has been actively involved in cultural discourse, advocating the highest quality in architecture, interior design and product design and presenting international thought leaders from these fields. Every year since 1997, the editorial team has chosen internationally renowned designers as AW Designer of the Year, including Patricia Urquiola, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Jasper Morrison, Nendo and Raw Egdes. AW Designer of the Year 2021 is Piero Lissoni. Since 2012, AW Architektur & Wohnen has also awarded the AW Architect of the Year prize in addition to AW Designer of the Year. With this award, the editorial team honours architects who provide new impulses for architecture and the city through original concepts and creative design ideas.

An Aedes catalogue will be published.

Further information:

Speaking at the online opening

Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss, Aedes, Berlin
Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Geneva
Francis Kéré, Kéré Architecture, Berlin

Aedes cooperation partners
Zumtobel, Cemex, Camerich, Carpet Concept

Generously supported by
AW Architektur & Wohnen, Kaufmann Bausysteme, Laufen, Steininger

Aerial view of the National Assembly of Burkina Faso, Africa:
National Assembly of Burkina Faso building design by Kéré Architecture
image © Kéré Architecture

Taylor Bridge, Mannheim, Germany:
Taylor Bridge Mannheim, Germany
photo © Kéré Architecture

Exterior view of the Goethe-Institut Senegal, Africa:
Goethe-Institut Senegal, Africa
photo © Kéré Architecture

Students in conversation at the Burkina Institute of Technology, Africa:
Burkina Institute of Technology Africa building
photo © Kéré Architecture

Startup Lions Campus:
Startup Lions Campus Turkana building
photo by Kinan Deeb © Kéré Architecture

Auditorium of the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School:
Classroom of Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School
photo © Kéré Architecture

Auditorium of the Waldorfschule Weilheim, Munich, Germany:
Assembly hall of the Freie Waldorfschule Weilheim
photo © Kéré Architecture

Francis Kéré Exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum Berlin images / information received 250621

Location: Christinenstr.18-19, 10119 Berlin, Germany

12 Sep 2023

Praemium Imperiale 2023

Architect Francis Kéré wins the 2023 Praemium Imperiale Awards Architecture Laureate, announced by The Japan Art Association and Lord Patten of Barnes, Advisor in UK:

Praemium Imperiale 2023 for Architecture

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picture © Archi-Tectonics
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German Architectural Designs

Berlin Architecture

German Buildings

Diébédo Francis Kéré Architectural Designs

17 May 2018
Tippet Rise Art Center Building, Tippet Rise, Stillwater County, Montana, USA
Design: Diébédo Francis Kéré architect, Berlin, Germany
Tippet Rise Art Center Montana building design by Francis Kéré architect
image Courtesy Tippet Rise Art Center / Francis Kéré architect
Tippet Rise Art Center Building by Francis Kéré

22 + 21 Sep 2017
Serpentine Pavilion 2017 Building design by Francis Kéré, Kensington Gardens, West London, England, UK
Serpentine Pavilion 2017 by Francis Kéré Architect in Kensington Gardens London
photo by Iwan Baan, Courtesy AECOM
Serpentine Pavilion 2017 by Francis Kéré Architect
For the fifth year running, AECOM, in collaboration with David Glover, delivered technical advisory services for the Pavilion, including structural and civil engineering, fire engineering, electrical engineering and lighting design.

Mar 24, 2010
Diébédo Francis Kéré Lecture
Gando primary school building in Burkina Faso design by Diébédo Francis Kéré
images from UB School of Architecture & Planning
Diébédo Francis Kéré Lecture, UB Buffalo, NY
Diébédo Francis Kéré is an architect from Burkina Faso who received an Aga Khan Award for Architecture for a primary school that he designed in his home village of Gando. He is currently teaching at the Technical University of Berlin. The annual Birdair Lecture at UB is generously supported by Birdair Inc. and celebrates the life and work of Walter Bird.

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