African architecture should stop copying the West, engage the real needs of the people and regard the environment, says Diébédo Francis Kéré.
Looking at the housing situation in West Africa, architect Diébédo Francis Kéré (Kéré Architecture) says that Africans should stop imitating the Western way of building and rather adapt it to their own needs – and the needs of the community – in order to cope better with the weather patterns in the region.
Due to the lack of a secure income, people build their houses themselves… and as models, they just copy the neighbouring house. In this part of the world, we only have one school for architecture, says Kéré.
Kéré believes the built environment in Africa should adapt to nature, while maintaining the cultural richness of the people.
He talks about his dream to make things better in his home country of Burkina Faso and tells how he has been introducing traditional building techniques that allow for natural ventilation to the communities in West Africa. By giving the community a framework within which to work, he encouraged the people of Burkina Faso to build houses that breathe.
Looking at various architectural projects in West Africa, Kéré points to the merits of clay building techniques.