A supportive community

The Kéré Foundation e.V. was founded in 1998 (under the name Schulbausteine für Gando) by internationally-renowned Burkinabè architect Francis Kéré with the aim of giving back to the community of Gando that raised him.

Gando is a district located in the vicinity of Tenkodogo in the Centre-Est region of Burkina Faso. Our work there intends to provide the community with the means towards a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable future through projects that focus on education, health and the environment. In the pursuit of these goals we have developed a collaborative practice that makes innovative use of local resources.

Our compact and agile structure is made up of an administrative board based in Germany and two project managers in Burkina Faso, with further employees hired on a project basis.

Francis Kéré

Francis Kéré was born in Gando, a village in the Centre-Est region of Burkina Faso. As the eldest son of his community’s leader, he was one of the first children in Gando to be formally educated. But with no school in the village, this meant he had to leave Gando aged seven to live with relatives. After finishing his secondary education, he trained as a carpenter and won a scholarship to pursue an apprenticeship in Germany. Propelled by a thirst for knowledge, his journey took him first to Munich and later to Berlin. In the newly reunified capital, and now fluent in German, he completed his Abitur (German high school diploma) in order to enrol as an architecture student at the Technische Universität Berlin.

During these years, mindful of the pressure to return to Gando and live up to collective expectations, he began to reflect on how best to serve the community that raised him. In 2001 while still a student, he designed and raised funds for his first building, the Gando Primary School, and created Schulbausteine für Gando, the predecessor to the Kéré Foundation e.V. A long collaborative process ensued, by which the people of Gando came to accept and adopt the innovative construction methods and materials he advocated for. The trust gained through the successful realisation of the project is the foundation upon which all later work in Gando was made possible.

The Gando Primary School was also an important milestone in his architectural career, winning the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004. In 2005 he founded his architectural practice, Kéré Architecture GmbH, taking on a wide range of projects, from community initiatives to civic institutions, from concept to execution and across diverse geographies.

He currently shares his time between ongoing projects in Gando, the Berlin-based Kéré Architecture office, the sites of his projects, which span four continents, and his teaching engagements in Munich. True to the approach that gave rise to his first project, his practice has become known for a vision that is grounded yet fiercely forward-looking.

Duitsland, Deutschland, Germany, Berlin, Berlijn, 22.1.2017. Architekt Francis Kéré.
Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk
My work is first and foremost a social instrument. Its cultural, economic and environmental building solutions are always underpinned by a social process.
Francis KéréArchitect and Founder Kéré Foundation e.V.

Our current partners

Hevert Foundation

A coincidental meeting between Mathias Hevert, managing director of Hevert-Arzneimittel, and our founder Francis Kéré on a train journey from Frankfurt to Berlin in 2006, resulted in a personal friendship and a long-term partnership. Since 2009, Hevert-Arzneimittel has been supporting our work by contributing one cent of each item they sell towards the completion of projects in Gando. In 2015, the Hervert Foundation was created to extend their engagement in the field of socially responsible sustainable development.  Over the years the Hervert family has made several trips to Gando and maintain a strong connection to the community.

Sidney E. Frank Foundation

Our partnership with the Sidney E. Frank Foundation began in 2017 when our partners Kéré Architecture GmbH were called upon to design the Xylem pavilion on the grounds of the Tippet Rise Art Centre in Fishtail, Montana, USA. In keeping with our values, this gathering space is built out of locally and sustainably sourced pine wood. Inspired by our work, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation decided to create a tie between Fishtail and Gando by funding the second phase of construction of the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School. Since then, they have become ongoing supporters of our projects.

Kéré Architecture GmbH

The building of the Gando Primary School saw the birth of two entities: the Kéré Foundation e.V, which Francis Kéré created in order to raise funds for the project, closely followed by Kéré Architecture GmbH, his architecture practice, which has since become internationally renowned. Over the years, we have worked on each new endeavour in Gando in collaboration. The partnership has been very enriching on both sides: while Kéré Architecture now brings a wealth of expertise acquired on projects across four continents, it continues to see its work in Gando as an invaluable opportunity to explore local materials, sustainable construction methods and learn from the community.

Hevert Foundation

A coincidental meeting between Mathias Hevert, managing director of Hevert-Arzneimittel, and our founder Francis Kéré on a train journey from Frankfurt to Berlin in 2006, resulted in a personal friendship and a long-term partnership. Since 2009, Hevert-Arzneimittel has been supporting our work by contributing one cent of each item they sell towards the completion of projects in Gando. In 2015, the Hervert Foundation was created to extend their engagement in the field of socially responsible sustainable development.  Over the years the Hervert family has made several trips to Gando and maintain a strong connection to the community.

Sidney E. Frank Foundation

Our partnership with the Sidney E. Frank Foundation began in 2017 when our partners Kéré Architecture GmbH were called upon to design the Xylem pavilion on the grounds of the Tippet Rise Art Centre in Fishtail, Montana, USA. In keeping with our values, this gathering space is built out of locally and sustainably sourced pine wood. Inspired by our work, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation decided to create a tie between Fishtail and Gando by funding the second phase of construction of the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School. Since then, they have become ongoing supporters of our projects.

Kéré Architecture GmbH

The building of the Gando Primary School saw the birth of two entities: the Kéré Foundation e.V, which Francis Kéré created in order to raise funds for the project, closely followed by Kéré Architecture GmbH, his architecture practice, which has since become internationally renowned. Over the years, we have worked on each new endeavour in Gando in collaboration. The partnership has been very enriching on both sides: while Kéré Architecture now brings a wealth of expertise acquired on projects across four continents, it continues to see its work in Gando as an invaluable opportunity to explore local materials, sustainable construction methods and learn from the community.

Hevert Foundation

A coincidental meeting between Mathias Hevert, managing director of Hevert-Arzneimittel, and our founder Francis Kéré on a train journey from Frankfurt to Berlin in 2006, resulted in a personal friendship and a long-term partnership. Since 2009, Hevert-Arzneimittel has been supporting our work by contributing one cent of each item they sell towards the completion of projects in Gando. In 2015, the Hervert Foundation was created to extend their engagement in the field of socially responsible sustainable development.  Over the years the Hervert family has made several trips to Gando and maintain a strong connection to the community.

Sidney E. Frank Foundation

Our partnership with the Sidney E. Frank Foundation began in 2017 when our partners Kéré Architecture GmbH were called upon to design the Xylem pavilion on the grounds of the Tippet Rise Art Centre in Fishtail, Montana, USA. In keeping with our values, this gathering space is built out of locally and sustainably sourced pine wood. Inspired by our work, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation decided to create a tie between Fishtail and Gando by funding the second phase of construction of the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School. Since then, they have become ongoing supporters of our projects.

Kéré Architecture GmbH

The building of the Gando Primary School saw the birth of two entities: the Kéré Foundation e.V, which Francis Kéré created in order to raise funds for the project, closely followed by Kéré Architecture GmbH, his architecture practice, which has since become internationally renowned. Over the years, we have worked on each new endeavour in Gando in collaboration. The partnership has been very enriching on both sides: while Kéré Architecture now brings a wealth of expertise acquired on projects across four continents, it continues to see its work in Gando as an invaluable opportunity to explore local materials, sustainable construction methods and learn from the community.

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