Mud brick by mud brick

Architect Francis Kéré is fundraising for the latest addition to the Gando development – an atelier for research and knowledge exchange.

Architect Francis Kéré, had a simple goal: born in Gando, Burkina Faso, he wanted to build a school which would withstand the rain season and be well adapted to the climate and culture.  Using traditional materials and working closely with the community he has managed to not only build a school but also teacher accommodation and a library, and now he is raising funds for the next phase of the project.

Up until now, they have conducted and coordinated all the building works out of a makeshift workshop that occupies a room at the school campus. This has doubled up as a materials store and even accommodation for workers who have to travel long distances. This is not a sustainable and healthy solution for the community, as the classroom space is needed for the expanding school. 

So Kéré has proposed the construction of a new workshop, the Gando Atelier, to function as an on-site base for both construction projects and for the organisation Schulbausteine für Gando. In addition to freeing up space on the school campus, it will provide a more appropriate place to work from and provide an on-site office where visitors and volunteers could also work and sleep during their stay.

“This project is so important because it gives us the opportunity to push the school projects in Gando," he explains. "The workshop is bigger than a classroom. It’s actually bigger than two classrooms. Because we want to use it to store large tools, wood and mud bricks but also because we want to use the space to conduct research."

I personally come from Gando and I know how difficult it is to acquire knowledge and education. Through this centre we’re trying to deepen all the ideas we’ve acquired over the years of working here. We want to develop these ideas further and to transfer them to as many young people as possible.

According to Kéré, by going back to local materials that are refined and put together in new ways, they build a structure that will secure a future for the village – for the long term. 

Through crowd-sourced funding Kéré has managed to raise 51% of the funding needed to complete the project and construction has already started. If you would like to see the project completed you can still donate here. 

Watch the Talk with Francis Kéré

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