When Susanne Pertl, a board member at the Stern Stewart Institute in Munich, first saw the work of Diébédo Francis Kéré, she knew he would be the ideal architect for an organization that promotes education and entrepreneurship in West Africa. Kéré had grown up in a remote village in Burkina Faso before earning his architecture degree in Germany and opening an office in Berlin. Today, Kéré remains committed to his home country, where he has completed such projects as the Center for Health Care and Social Promotion in Laongo (RECORD, August 2015) and a high school in Dano (RECORD, January 2011).
“I found Kéré’s architecture to be extraordinary,” says Pertl. “The buildings are not ‘monuments,’ but look special and work well for their inhabitants.” The organization ultimately commissioned Kéré to design Lycée Schorge (named for a Pertl family member), a secondary school encompassing 17,900 square feet—the architect’s largest completed building to date.