Questions of Practice: Francis Kéré on Architecture and Community Collaboration

Architect Francis Kéré has said that “architecture is about people,” and that it should inspire and serve the needs of a community. In conjunction with the Center-funded Creative Africa exhibition series at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, we asked Kéré how he invites community input in his projects. “Working with the community is demanding…to take time to discuss; to listen to people,” Kéré says. “But at the end, a project is a product of collaboration.”

Francis Kéré on architecture and community collaboration. Filmed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on September 26, 2016.

Supported by a Center Advancement grant, The Architecture of Francis Kéré: Building for Community was on view May 14 – September 25, 2016 as part of the Creative Africa exhibition series at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Learn more here.>>

Born in Burkina Faso and based in Berlin, architect Francis Kéré integrates traditional knowledge and craft skills into innovative and sustainable buildings worldwide. In 1998, he established the Kéré Foundation and constructed The Primary School in his home village—a project that received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004. With his firm Kéré Architecture, he has produced international projects including the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Switzerland, the Center for Earth Architecture in Mali, and the National Park of Mali, and he participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale (2010). Kéré is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, and has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio.


In spring 2012, Stefan Sagmeister “got happy” at the Institute of Contemporary Art—his first U.S. museum show and the ICA’s first exhibition dedicated to the work of a graphic designer.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Laura Mullen was appointed Director of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University in 2014. She has served as Poet-in-Residence at Brown University and Columbia College, and serves frequently as a guest faculty member at Naropa’s Summer Writing Program. In 2015, she served as a panelist for Pew Fellowships.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Erin Bernard is a curator, community artist, public historian, and the creator of the Philadelphia Public History Truck.

Stolfa talks with us about the process of creating a community-sourced exhibition, the ability of art to serve as an avenue for dialogue, her vision for the future, and more.

Ramsburg shares some of her experiences as Craig Anderson, the motivations behind her character (her “impression” in reenactment terminology), and her goals as a reenactor.

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries, in collaboration with the Wharton Esherick Museum and the Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania, presented the first major examination of Esherick’s work and artistic development in over 50 years.

Grants & Grantees

Cliveden of the National Trust is an 18th-century historic house and the site of the 1777 Battle of Germantown. A National Historic Landmark, Cliveden was the summer home of prominent colonial attorney Benjamin Chew.

Grants & Grantees

Sarah McEneaney is a painter and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Curator Mary Jane Jacob is professor and executive director of exhibitions and exhibition studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The ICA will present a film screening of The Mesh and the Circle followed by a conversation with Luís Silva and João Mourão, co-directors of Kunsthalle Lissabon.

Grants & Grantees

Relâche is a new music ensemble whose unique sound includes flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, piano, percussion, viola, and bass.

Grants & Grantees

The Slought Foundation is a small and dynamic organization with great ambitions, founded in 2002 to present art projects and lectures from a storefront in University City.