When I think of the great architects of the world, Diébédo Francis Kéré is not a name that comes to mind. I came across him after listening to Sebastian Junger’s November 2016 TED Talk, Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war which was featured in Sunday’s “This Week on TED.com”. Junger’s talk left me wondering if there was any hope. He presents facts like 22 vets commit suicide every day and the wealthier we are the more likely we are to commit suicide, abuse our children and suffer from loneliness. I had to find a positive response to this depressing scenario, so I went looking at TED, putting “community” in the search field.
I found Diébédo Francis Kéré. He, like Junger comes back to a community only his community has nothing and together they make something, a school. Sebastian Junger comes back to a community that has everything and he suffers PTSD and asks: “Can we save ourselves?”. I think Kéré’s community is a good answer to Junger’s or the one we are more familiar with in the U.S. and I think I’ve found an architect worthy to stand with Mies, Frank, Louis and all the other great Chicago architects.