Burkina Faso-born architect Diebedo Francis Kere was awarded with the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s most prestigious award.
The announcement was made on Tuesday in New York.
Francis Kere is the first African to win the honour in its more than 40-year history.
“I am speechless, I have a feeling of an overwhelming honour but also a sense of responsibility. I simply feel honoured, that is unexpected, you know, it was never in my dreams. Even in my dreams full of fantasy, I never thought that this work that I was doing as a duty to my people, which paved my career, will ever been connected to Pritzker Foundation. So I feel I am the happiest man on the planet”, said architect and Pritzker Prize winner, Diebedo Francis Kere.
The architects’ journey started with a pimary school in his native village in Burkina Faso.
Many projects followed since in countries such as Benin, Mali, Togo, Kenya, Mozambique, Togo and Sudan.
“I don’t know what will be the reaction in Africa, but something is sure: we have a lot of young people looking for opportunities, and seeing one of them — that are still… I am young — winning the Pritzker price may be a big opening and a big inspiration to become architect”, added the Pritzker Prize winner.
In the announcement, the 56 year-old architect was hailed for his “pioneering” designs that are “sustainable to the earth and its inhabitants — in lands of extreme scarcity”, said Tom Pritzker, chairman of the Hyatt Foundation that sponsors the award.