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Atelier Gando

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A center for international encounter and exchange

Developed to establish an exchange between local craftsmen, builders, architects, students and visitors, the Atelier Gando was initiated under the direction of Francis Kéré with the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio in Switzerland. The Atelier is meant to mainly function as a center for sustainable construction technologies and research where indigenous building methods can be studied and innovated for contemporary applications. The project will also continue to support the ongoing building developments in the region by providing a workshop space, temporary lodging for students and workers, and storage for tools and materials.

While communities from rural desert regions of Burkina Faso face many economic challenges, the Gando projects including the Atelier aim to create educational resources and job-training. Parallel to supporting education for Burkinabés, the Atelier also introduces a crucial component of architectural training for students from established western institutions such as the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio. As a lesson in building for rural and impoverished areas, students are challenged to be resourceful with methods and building materials, working closely as a team and staying flexible according to difficult conditions on site. In creating an architectural education that addresses contemporary needs and realities, the workshops will also focus on communication and trust in addition to design.

The highest building in the village

The building itself is an example of this creative exchange of tradition and modernity, taking on a materiality and volumetric shape influenced by native earth-built settlements in the region. Reaching nearly 7 meters in height, the Atelier will be the tallest clay structure in Gando.

Layout of the Atelier building


Become a Partner University (currently on hold)

Are you looking for a participatory project for your architecture students? The first phase of construction was carried out together with architecture students of the "Accademia di Architettura" of Mendrisio (Switzerland), who were taught by Francis Kéré. We are cooperating with architecture universities and plan summer workshops with architecture students and colleges. Contact us for more information.

Note: Unfortunately, the political and security situation in Burkina Faso has been very difficult since the coup attempt. This affects the exchanges conducted with Atelier Gando. With this studio we wanted to facilitate an exchange between local craftsmen, architects, students and visitors. Unfortunately, due to the increase in the attacks, especially on the border with Mali, it has become too dangerous to bring foreign students into the country. We are working really hard in finding new safety measures that improve everyone’s safety standards while continuing the atelier’s construction with our local team already in Gando.



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