Erstellt: 26. Januar 2022

Learning from Burkina Faso

Workshop on Emerging Cities with Francis Keré

On Thursday, 20.01.2022, we conducted a half-day workshop with Francis Keré (, appointed “Bauhaus Guest Professor” in the current semester. Together with students from the study program “Integrated Urban Development and Design” (IUDD) we discussed challenges and strategies for planning emerging cities in the context of West-Africa as well as Sub-Saharan Africa.

To better understand the context in which settlements and urbanisation processes take place, our students virtually “visited” different regions of the Westafrican country Burkina Faso via Satellite overflights. After identifying various urban settlement patterns, the workshop participants had carefully analyzed their internal structure and how they are related to their surrounding natural environment and presented them to the group.

Francis Keré commented on the findings of the students and gave valuable insights into the morphology and function of typical urban configurations of his home country. While sharing his rich experience about building with local natural materials and developing site specific solutions which is a distinguished feature of his architectural oeuvre, participants learned how villages and towns are organised and reflected about cultural and natural living conditions.

Beyond that, we introduced AI-based planning methods for managing the complexity of urban design and natural resources for small towns developing in rural areas and also showed their potential for enabling participation among experts and citizens in urban development and design.

In a final discussion Prof. Keré stressed the challenges that countries such as Burkina Faso are facing (e.g. lack of well educated planners and lack of resources), and emphasized the potential that new digital tools (such as parametric modeling and urban simulation) have for the planning of cities and establishing participatory processes. After almost four hours of intensive exchange, Francis Kéré encouraged the students to continue exploring these new digital tools in order to develop new solutions in response to global challenges that will be crucial for their future professional career.

Photographies by Kerrin Dibbern, David Beckert & Philippe Schmidt.