Gando, Burkina Faso
Diébédo Francis Kéré
  • Overview

    While studying architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin, Diébédo Francis Kéré learned that the small primary school in his hometown of Gando, Burkina Faso—a village of around 2,500 inhabitants—was in disrepair. In response he started Schulbausteine für Gando e.V. (School building blocks for Gando), an organization dedicated to creating a better school. Kéré designed a building of traditional unbaked mud bricks, an easily available and highly sustainable material in the region, but one that had fallen into disregard. To increase their durability Kéré introduced a human-powered machine to compress the bricks and he designed a large overhanging roof to protect the walls against rain and heat, leaving space between the ceiling and roof to increase air circulation and create a pleasant interior climate. Community members collaborated on the erection of the school, becoming trained in construction in the process. The brick elements were hand assembled on site, and the roof structure was welded without heavy machinery.

    Attendance at the school has been extremely high since it opened, in 2001; applications far outnumber available spots. Thanks to the broad international recognition this remote project has received, Kéré and Schulbausteine für Gando e.V. have been able to build an annex to the school and houses for the teachers. There are plans for the erection of a library and women’s center in the immediate future. With this project Kéré has demonstrated that the engagement of one architect can have a lasting positive effect on the welfare of a community in an extremely poor country.

  • Architect

    Diébédo Francis Kéré was born in Gando, Burkina Faso. He graduated from the architecture program at Technische Universität Berlin in 2004, and opened his architecture office in Berlin the following year. Kéré had already founded the non-governmental organization Schulbausteine fuer Gando e.V. (school bricks for Gando) in 1998, with the objective of improving traditional building techniques in his home country. He currently teaches at Technische Universität Berlin and works with his office internationally on several projects. His entrance and restaurant buildings in the Parc National du Mali will be finished in fall 2010.

  • Audio
  • Credits
    • Architect: Diébédo Francis Kéré
    • Landscape design: Diébédo Francis Kéré
    • Construction: residents of Gando
    • Client: Village of Gando, Burkina Faso; Schulbausteine für Gando e.V.