The Global Holcim Awards Gold 2012 was presented to Berlin-based architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, himself a son of the village headman of Gando where his latest school complex for more than 1,000 children is being constructed.
The secondary school in the village of Gando in Burkina Faso was selected to receive the Global Holcim Awards Gold 2012 out of more than 6,000 competition entries from all over the world.
Text by Diébédo Francis Kéré, Kéré Architecture, Germany
The deep motivation of the architect is to build in his home village Gando, in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is situated in in the West African Sahel and is one of the poorest countries in the world. With an illiteracy rate of over 90 % of the women and 80 % of the men, the majority of its people has no alternative than farming. There is a need for secondary schools in the country because in the past, only primary schools have been supported financially by foreign institutions and the government of Burkina Faso. Through educational programs for adults and a public library, the schools in Gando are open to the community, which will be more effective than official programs implemented by the government.
Social network and platform
The second aim of the school projects is to create a platform for meeting, learning and teaching. The most important part of the project is the fact that it has been considered as a good model of community work throughout the country. But this project has also become a job motor for the young workers who were trained by the construction techniques. These people were involved as labours in the following projects:
- Secondary school in Dano, Burkina Faso 2007
- Centre de l’architecture de terre in Mopti, Mali 2010
- Village opéra in Laongo, Burkina Faso 2011
- Training center in Dapaong, Togo building in process
- Clinic in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso building in process
- Clinic in Leo, Burkina Faso building in process
- School in Pouni, Burkina Faso building in process
Use of local resources and materials
Most of the construction materials are locally available: granite stones for the base, clay and fast-growing eucalyptus wood, mainly used as firewood. Eucalyptus is an imported tree which dries out the soil and does not provide shade. It is one of the aims of this project, to demonstrate a sustainable usage of this wood.
Reforestation is part of the design and climate concept of the school projects. The trees and grasses filter the air from dust and create high-quality community space. The students are responsible for the newly planted trees and water them via a specially designed irrigation system that carries the water directly to the root. This system is used until the roots reach deep enough for the ground water.
Photos credit: Photos © Holcim Foundation
Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction - Awards Gold - Burkina Faso