the work of architect francis kéré is deeply rooted in his native country, burkina faso in west africa. while he was raised in one of the poorest countries in the world, he received a scholarship to study architecture in berlin where he ultimately opened his own practice. presenting an extreme social burden and a deep bond with his country, he makes use of sustainable techniques with limited resources. kéré elaborates: ‘architecture is at the service of humanity. building a building is a team effort. when I raised the school from my village, I implored all the inhabitants. architecture is also emotion: what you transmit with what you build. and it must be realistic: I use the materials that I have at hand, mud, water, wood.’

 

madrid’s museo ICO presents the exhibition: ‘francis kéré. primary elements’ curated by luis fernández-galiano and organized by the ICO foundation. the exhibition showcases 27 projects and six artistic installations carried out in three different continents.

francis kere madrid exhibition
image by julio césar gonzález

 

 

the thesis that structures the entire exhibition relates the work of francis kéré with the primary elements of the work of 19th century german architect and scholar gottfried semper: the stereotomic floor, the tectonic roof, and the textile wall. these ‘primary elements’ have been constructed full scale in the museo ICO with the same techniques used by kéré in his projects. visitors will find a textile wall made with fabrics from burkina faso; a concrete platform; a reproduction of kéré’s louisiana canopy at denmark’s louisiana museum of modern art; and a reduced reproduction of his 2017 serpentine pavilion. a reproduction of the kéré architecture studio in berlin is shown at the exhibition with various material samples and working models selected from the workshop itself.

francis kere madrid exhibition
image by julio césar gonzález

 

 

also at the exhibition is an adobe wall and platform built by the students of the ‘arquitectura con tierra’ workshop, which took place in july in boceguillas, segovia — north of madrid. this workshop was specifically organized on the occasion of this exhibition by the ICO foundation, the center for research in traditional architecture (CIAT), the madrid school of architecture (ETSAM), the general foundation of the polytechnic university of madrid (UPM) and the city council of boceguillas.

francis kere madrid exhibition
image by julio césar gonzález

francis kere madrid exhibition
gando primary school aerial | image by daniel schwartz

francis kere madrid exhibition
gando school extension | image by erik-jan ouwerkerk

francis kere madrid exhibition
gando school library | image © francis kéré architecture

francis kere madrid exhibition
opera village | image by erik-jan ouwerkerk

francis kere madrid exhibition
léo surgical clinic and health center | image by andrea maretto

francis kere madrid exhibition
centre de santé et de promotion social (CSPS) | image courtesy of kéré architecture

francis kere madrid exhibition
centre de santé et de promotion social (CSPS) | image courtesy of kéré architecture

francis kere madrid exhibition
serpentine pavilion 2017 | image by iwan baan

francis kere madrid exhibition
serpentine pavilion 2017 | image by iwan baan

 

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