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.


Grants & Grantees

Working with colored thread and thousands upon thousands of knots, 2007 Pew Fellow Ed Bing Lee transforms a simple material and a common technique into a unique form of contemporary fiber art.

Grants & Grantees

One of the first venues in the United States dedicated to the appreciation of limited edition prints, the Print Center has expanded its purview to include photography and ephemera.

Grants & Grantees

The 2011 FringeArts Festival featured the American premiere of Improbable Theatre’s production, which took inspiration from the iconic puppet show Punch and Judy.

Paul Schimmel responds to the question: “Do you think exhibition-making bears any resemblance to theater directing?”

Marginal Utility’s Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent was featured on Artforum’s website.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Lisa Yun Lee is the director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and a member of the art history faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the museum studies faculty at Harvard University.

Grants & Grantees

Julie York is a visual artist and 2007 Pew Fellow who works in porcelain, glass, and plastic, and whose practice is driven by the industrial process.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Hou Hanru is a Chinese-born art critic and curator, as well as the artistic director of the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome.

Tacita Dean speaks about time’s myriad forms, from the geological and the celestial to the biological or the structural.

Grants & Grantees

Virgil Marti is a visual artist and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

1812 Productions, Philadelphia’s all-comedy theater company, workshopped and produced the shared world premiere of a “soccer-mom sex farce” by Billy Aronson.

Grants & Grantees

Bristol Riverside Theatre is a vibrant, engaged community theater in the northeast reaches of the Philadelphia area.