Francis Kéré Scholarship established at Yale School of Architecture

Francis Kéré Scholarship established at Yale School of Architecture

The Yale School of Architecture will welcome its first Francis Kéré Scholar this Fall. The scholarship, named in honor of Pritzker Prize-winning Burkinabe architect Francis Kéré, is dedicated to supporting the education of aspiring architects from Africa while studying at Yale. “It is a tremendous honor to have this scholarship named after me,” says Kéré. “There are so many aspiring African architects and with a Yale education they will be able to excel. I am the first African architect to be recognized with a Pritzker and, thanks to the Francis Kéré Scholarship, I hope there will be many more to come.”

“It is especially meaningful to be able to nurture new voices and new talents in the field of architecture,” says Deborah Berke, Dean and J.M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture. “This gift ensures that anyone with the drive and the skills will be able to pursue the career they want. Our goal here at the Yale School of Architecture is to educate architects, scholars, teachers, and leaders who will shape the future through design; this scholarship will empower future generations of leaders.”

Kéré has been an active member of the Yale community as a visiting professor and lecturer. He taught advanced design studios as the William B. and Charlotte Shepherd Davenport Visiting Professor in Fall 2019 and, more recently, the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Professor in Fall 2022. “It is always a pleasure to teach at Yale,” says Kéré. “The community is welcoming and vibrant, and the students are talented, curious, and eager to become leaders in the profession. Deborah has created a community with the best architects in the world. Yale is truly the place to be.” Students in Kéré’s advanced studios have tackled diverse issues in the built environment, including the use of sustainable materials to create one-to-one scale mockups of new building modules and construction methods. Yale’s Advanced Design Studios include support for the class to travel for site visits related to the syllabus; in 2019, his students travelled with him to Ghana and in 2022, to the lake village of Ganvié in Benin.

The scholarship was established with a gift from the Sidney E. Frank Foundation. Yale endowment funds can be augmented with gifts from other individuals, foundations, and corporations. The Francis Kéré Scholarship Fund will continue to grow with additional gifts in honor of the award-winning architect. This gift supports a key priority of of for Humanity: The Yale Campaign—increasing access and affordability so that the brightest scholars from all backgrounds can study and thrive at Yale. The gift also complements the Yale Africa Initiative, which promotes African scholarship, contemporary discourse on Africa, and research.

The Yale School of Architecture is comprised of 225 students. This year, the student body includes ten students from nine African countries enrolled in its graduate program. Yale offers scholarships to all its students based on demonstrated need regardless of nationality.

Francis Kéré was born in Burkina Faso and runs his practice, Kéré Architecture, from Berlin, Germany. He rose to fame with his design for a primary school in his home town of Gando, which used low-cost and sustainable materials. Kéré received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004, and designed the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion in London. Major projects include his design for the Burkina Faso National Assembly, the Léo Surgical Clinic & Health Centre (2014) the Lycée Schorge Secondary School (2016), and Xylem (2019), a gathering pavilion at Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana.