Francis Kéré is a precise observer, excellent visionary and builder – his architecture is of radical simplicity. The architect, who was born in Burkina Faso and lives in Berlin, uniquely combines the culture and habits of the African and European continents. For his inspiring approach to architecture as well as his exceptional and distinct style, Kéré Architecture will be honoured with the AW Architect of the Year 2021 award. The installation Arbre à Palabres – the tree under which people meet to consult, to talk and to learn from each other – forms the programmatic context for the projects presented.
Arbre à Palabres presents planned and realized projects that illustrate how Francis Kéré and his team use social, political and construction knowledge from across West Africa to arrive at designs that focus on a building’s purpose and the people who use it. Under the expansive installation of an abstracted kapok tree, the projects are presented in three categories: Civic Dialogue, Creative Exchangeand Inspired Education.