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The Pritzker Award Winner 2022

Diébédo Francis Kéré, the 2022 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

This year we congratulate Diébédo Francis Kéré on becoming the first African Architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Award.

Born in Burkina Faso in 1965, one of the world’s least educated countries, lacking in fresh clean drinking water, electricity and infrastructure, Diébédo Francis Kéré was the oldest son of the village chief and the first in his community to attend school. In 1985 Kéré received a vocational carpentry scholarship which took him to Berlin, Germany. And in 1995 he was awarded another scholarship to Technische Universität where he received an advanced degree in Architecture, graduating in 2004. Kéré founded Kéré Architects in 2005. Although based in Berlin, Kéré’s work took him worldwide completing projects in the United Kingdom, the United States and many areas around Africa and of course including his home country of Burkina Faso.

Gando Primary School, 2001, Burkina Faso

While studying in Berlin, Kéré started raising money to Build the Gando Primary School, in his home town, Burkina Faso. This was his first major project and held personal importance to him. Inspired by the terrible conditions he endured as a kid in class, Kéré used his newfound architectural knowledge to create much better learning conditions for the next generation. Built with the help of the local villagers, the School was completed in 2001, awarding Kéré with the Aga Khan Award for architecture in 2004.

Lycée Schorge Secondary School, 2017, Burkina Faso

Another example of Kéré passion for improving Burkina Faso schooling facilities is the Lycée Schorge Secondary School, 2017. Built just outside of Koudougou, Burkina Faso. Arranged in the shape of a C by 9 connected modules around a central courtyard holding classrooms, an administration office and a dental clinic. Constructed using locally sourced materials like the Laterite stone which is cut easily when removed from the earth and left in the sun to harden. The secondary facade is constructed of locally sourced Eucalyptus wood and wraps the 9 modules. This area between the main building and the Eucalyptus creates a nice cool ventilated area for students to relax between classes.

The Xylem Pavilion, 2019, Montana, USA

Something a little different designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré is the Xylem Pavilion. Built in 2019 for the Tippet Rise Art Centre, Montana, USA. The Pavilion, which is caved sinuously to blend in with its surroundings provides a comfortable place for people to come, converse, relax or simply sit in silence with nature. Entirely constructed of locally sourced sustainable pinewood felled during natural pruning. The process is used to protect the forest from parasitic bugs. Kéré stated on social media that no healthy trees were felled or damaged during the construction of the Xylem Pavilion.

National Park of Mali, 2010, Bamako

To mark the 50th Anniversary of Mali’s independence, Kéré took on the task of refurbishing the reopening of the National Park of Mali, Bamako, located on a reserve of protected rainforest. Included in the monumental task were points of entry to the park, youth and sports centre, a restaurant, public toilets and Kiosks. Externally cladding with natural stone from the region and generous large overhanging roofs provide cool areas inside and outside.

Diébédo Francis Kéré is a well-deserved winner of this year’s Pritzker Award not only for his unique sustainable designs but also for his humanitarian work in Burkina Faso and around the world. Isabel Barros Architects would like to congratulate Diébédo Francis Kéré and wish him a long and happy career.

The Pritzker Award Winners 2021

The Pritzker award, established in 1979 by the Pritzker family is awarded to a living architect/s for producing consistent and significant contributions to humanity. The award is granted annually and considered to be one of the highest achievements in the world of architectural design.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates

This year’s 2021 Pritzker Award was awarded to Anne Lacaton, Saint-Pardoux, France & Jean-Philippe Vassal, Casablanca Morocco.

Lacation & Vassal met in the late 1970s during formal architecture training at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Bordeaux. Lacaton went on to complete her Masters in Urban Design, while Vassal took another path deciding to relocate to Niger to practice Urban design. It was during a visit to Niger when Lacaton and Vassal started working together.

With their extensive experience in Urban Design, the two decided to explore the aspect of reusing and refurbishing existing structures rather than demolition. Some of their works to date include the following.

100 Units, Tour Bois Le Pretre, Social Housing, 2011 Paris, France

Working with Frederic Druot, the two took this tower originally built in the 1960s which was in serious need of upgrading, in all areas, went against the proposed demolition plans, turning the tower structure into a 100 unit apartment block.

Multipurpose Theater, 2013, Lille, France

Working as a multipurpose municipal hall that can host several different events. Due to its flexible floor plan, sliding doors, and windows, modular and reconfigurable seating to expand the space, the facade can retract fully and open any event onto the gardens.

Frac Nord-Pas de Calais, 2013, Dunkerque, France

This postwar Shipbuilding was due to be demolished, however, Lacaton and Vassal decided to construct a 2nd building in identical shape and size. The original shipbuilding is now used for changing public programming. The new includes galleries, offices, and storage for contemporary art.

House in Bordeaux, 1999, Bourdeaux, France

Once a cold industrial factory, now a warm inviting residential home. Replacing parts of the existing roof with transparent polycarbonate sheets, retractable walls, and oversized windows allows light to travel through the open-plan layout.

129 Units, Ourcq-Juarès Student and Social Housing, 2013, Paris, France

Located in the 19th district, Paris France. The 129 Units consist of 98 student apartments, 30 social dwelling, a specialist care home, and 3 commercial shops turning this disused structure into a busy community.

Lacaton & Vassal was established in1987 in Paris. Since 2017, Lacaton has been a professor of Architecture and Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of technology. Zurich Switzerland. Vassal is an associated professor at the Uniersitat der Kunste. Berlin, Germany, since 2012.

On behalf of the staff at Isabel Barros Architects, Wexford, we congratulate Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal on winning this prestigious award and look forward to seeing what they do next.

Irish Women Receive the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara were awarded the 2020 Pritzker Prize. It is the first time that two female architects receive this prestigious prize. They make the 2nd and 3rd Pritzker awardees to have been graduated from UCD – University College Dublin, Ireland.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

Universita Luigi Bocconi, 2008, Milan, Italy

The pair established Grafton Architects in 1978 in Dublin, where they continue to practice and reside. In just over forty years, they have completed nearly as many projects, located in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Peru.

Offices for the Department of Finance, 2009, Dublin, Ireland

Farrell and McNamara have designed and built several schools and architectural works for institutions and universities. They have won many international competitions and awards.

University Campus UTEC Lima, 2015, Lima, Peru

Their buildings consistently remain purposefully rich, yet modest, enhancing cities and lending to sustainability while responding to local needs.

Offices for the Department of Finance, 2009, Dublin, Ireland

As architects and educators since the 1970s, Farrell and McNamara create spaces that are at once respectful and new, honoring history while demonstrating a mastery of the urban environment and craft of construction. Balancing strength and delicacy, and upholding a reverence of site specific contexts, their academic, civic and cultural institutions, as well as housing developments, result in modern and impactful works that never repeat or imitate, but are decidedly of their own architectural voice.

Solstice Arts Centre, 2007, Navan, Co. Meath,Ireland

Their approach to architecture is always honest, revealing an understanding of the processes of design and construction from large scale structures to the smallest details.

UL President’s House, 2010, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

The architects are continuously conscious of the dialogue between the internal and external, evidenced by the mingling of public and private spaces, and the meaningful selection and integrity of materials.

For their integrity in their approach to both their buildings, as well as the way they conduct their practice, their belief in collaboration, their generosity towards their colleagues, especially as evidenced in such events as the 2018 Venice Biennale, their unceasing commitment to excellence in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment, their ability to be cosmopolitan while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work, for all these reasons and more, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are awarded the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Pritzker Architecture Prize, Jury Citation