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Francis Kéré, creator of Xylem, wins Architecture Medal

April 10, 2021

We are so pleased for our friend Francis Kéré who has been named the 2021 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medalist in Architecture. Francis is celebrated around the world for his community-centered, environmentally sustainable approach to design. Here at the art center, he is known for Xylem, the elegant 2,100-square foot pavilion he created for Tippet Rise, which opened to the public in 2019.

Presented since 1966 by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello and the University of Virginia, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals and are awarded in Architecture, Law, Citizen Leadership, and Global Innovation and are the highest external honors given by the University. Previous architecture medalists include I.M. Pei in 1976, Frank O. Gehry in 1994, and Maya Lin in 2011.

Born in the village of Gando in Burkina Faso, Francis established the Kéré Foundation while he was still a student at the Technical University of Berlin. The Foundation works to improve the lives of people in West Africa by building community infrastructure, such as schools, housing for teachers, and libraries. In addition to his contributions that region, Francis’ work spans the globe. Commissions have included the Serpentine Pavilion, a pavilion for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and showcases at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, among many others. Based in Berlin, Francis has held professorships at a number of universities, including the Harvard School of Design.

For more information about the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, please click on “More info” below.

Congratulations, Francis!

Photo of Francis at Tippet Rise by Emily Rund.