Diébédo Francis Kéré has been awarded the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The prize is the highest accolade of those handed out by the academy, and Kéré was one of five winners of whom were selected from a group of 27 individuals and firms nominated by academy members.
Already commissioned to design this year’s Serpentine Pavillion in London, Kéré is enjoying a hot streak of late. Towards the end of last year, his work was the focus of an extensive exhibition in Munich, Germany and was also featured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additionally, he has been listed as a participant for this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial. In being awarded the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, Kéré will take home $20,000.
Kéré’s Serpentine Pavilion design due to be built in Kensington Gardens, London, this year. (Courtesy Kéré Architecture)
Born in Burkina Faso, though based in Berlin since 2005, Kéré has established a strong pedigree for himself as an African architect practicing in his home country in Gando, his hometown. In 2004, Kéré won the Aga Khan Award for his first building, a primary school for the village of Gando. Since then, Kéré has become renowned for his socially engaging and ecologically sensitive design.
The jury for this year’s awards comprised Elizabeth Diller, Henry N. Cobb, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Hugh Hardy, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, James Polshek, Robert A.M. Stern, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams. Four other prizes were also awarded. Arts and Letters Awards in Architecture went to critic paul Goldberger, landscape architect and urbanist Walter Hood, Chicago architect John Ronan, and Theaster Gates, whose socially-minded Rebuild Foundation has been working in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood for a number of years. Gates and Goldberger will take home $10,000 each as a result.
An awards ceremony will be held in New York this year where work by the winners will be on show as part of theExhibition of Works by Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and Awards which can be found displayed at Audubon Terrace.