Before he became one of this century’s best-known, forward-thinking architects, Francis Kéré lived in a small village in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa. Francis Kéré grew up without power, formal schooling, or access to safe drinking water. He managed to emigrate from Burkina Faso to Germany in the late 90s but regularly returned to his home village of Gando to share what he’d learned and give back to his old community. Even three years before graduating as an architect, he built a new school in his village so its children wouldn’t have to travel to neighboring towns.
Why They Made the Worthy 100: Early in 2022, Francis Kéré made history by becoming the first African to win the Pritzker Prize, widely considered the highest achievement award in architecture. The award came to him not only for completing ground-breaking and innovative projects but also because those projects use local materials and traditional techniques yet still achieve modern results.