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A eucalyptus barrier provides shade for students at the Lycée Schorge Secondary School in Koudougou, Burkina Faso. 

A eucalyptus barrier provides shade for students at the Lycée Schorge Secondary School in Koudougou, Burkina Faso. 

Photographer: Francis Kéré

Look to West Africa for the Future of Green Architecture

The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Francis Kéré uses local materials and an eye for traditional practices to push the global boundaries of sustainability. 

In 2014, a crowd of demonstrators stormed Burkina Faso’s National Assembly building, setting it ablaze and ending the nearly 30-year rule of President Blaise Compaoré.

A year later, Burkenabè architect Diébédo Francis Kéré was asked to imagine a new parliamentary building — one that would reflect a more democratic future for the West African nation. Kéré conceived a six-story stepped pyramid that slopes up gently from the ground, inviting citizens to gather, climb and take in views of the capital city, Ouagadougou. The ruins of the former parliament building next door would be transformed into a rainwater-collecting memorial park.