Marcus Prize 2011 Recipient

Friday, July 8, 2011

Milwaukee, WI - Diebedo Francis Kere, founder of Kere Architecture (http://www.kere-architecture.com) based in Berlin, Germany has been chosen as the 2011 recipient of the Marcus Prize for Architecture.

The Marcus Prize is a $100,000 award funded by the Marcus Corporation Foundation and administered through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning to recognize emerging talent in architecture worldwide. The Marcus Prize provides a $50,000 award to the winner and a further $50,000 to the School to run the competition and bring Kere to Milwaukee to lead a design studio.

During the spring 2012 semester, Mr. Kere will make scheduled visits to the School. He will co-direct a graduate studio project on specific challenges in architecture that inspire enduring benefits to the physical environment, and will be invited to participate in public workshops and lectures.

Diebedo Francis Kere was born in Burkina Faso in 1965, the first-born son of the chief of the village of Gando. He was awarded a scholarship to complete his secondary education in Berlin and, upon completion, enrolled in the School of Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. In 2004 he completed his degree.

In 1998, Kere founded the organization Bricks for the Gando Schools, through which he raised the funds to build a new primary school in his home village. Here, he adapted construction techniques to take advantage of passive ventilation strategies, local resources and technical skills. The results illustrate the power of architecture to change a community.

On May 19, 2011, a six-person jury convened in Milwaukee to select among the 30 international nominees drawn from 13 countries, all practicing architects who were nominated by one or more of a select international committee of nominators. The Jurors: Toshiko Mori, FAIA, the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and principal of Toshiko Mori Architect, (New York City); Carlos Jimenez, Principal of Carlos Jimenez Studio, Professor at Rice University and a jury member of the Pritzker Architectural Prize, (Houston); Sarah Herda, director of The Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, (Chicago); Robert Greenstreet, Dean, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning (Milwaukee), Steve Marcus, CEO, The Marcus Corporation Foundation (Milwaukee) and Chris Cornelius, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning (who will coteach the studio with Kere) reviewed the portfolios, CVs and work statements of each nominee before selecting Kere to receive the Marcus Prize.

According to juror Toshiko Mori, "Kere is...able to translate western architectural traditions into indigenous processes and values. His desire to make sophisticated and uncompromised buildings with so few resources is an empowering and optimistic lesson to share with students."

The Marcus Prize has been awarded to MVRDV, Rotterdam (2005), Barkow + Leibinger Architects, Berlin (2007) and Alejandro Aravena, Elemental, Chile (2009). Work from the Marcus Prize studios has been published on countless websites and international journals, and in several books, including Skycar City (Aktar) and Architecture Now! 7 (Taschen). The student work has been displayed at the 2008 Venice Biennale and has won a design award. The Marcus Prize has been described as "the most lucrative prize for young designers in the world matched only by the Pritzker."

The Marcus Corporation Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Marcus Corporation, a lodging and entertainment company with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Marcus Prize is part of the Marcus family’s ongoing commitment to support the growth and development of the practice of architecture in Milwaukee.