Kéré Architecture Kéré Architecture

Gando Secondary School

Back to Projects

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a literacy rate of 29% (UNESCO Institute for Statistics.)  It is common that the young students of Gando are the first in their families to learn how to read and write. After the overwhelming success of the Gando Primary School, Francis Kéré’s first building, it soon became clear that additional educational resources where desperately needed. The addition of the Secondary School will enable students to gain a deeper understanding of their school subjects while opening up now possibilities for their futures. 

Combining both modern and vernacular construction methods, the design shows how a low-tech, energy-saving and low-cost climatic concept can be used in areas of extreme heat and drought. Consisting of a courtyard surrounded by seven buildings, the Secondary School will accommodate approximately 1000 students from Gando and its adjacent villages.  The design includes classrooms, administration offices, library, assembly hall, sports field, and sheltered parking for bicycles and motorbikes. In addition to offering resources to students, the Secondary School will also serve as a meeting point for the community, offering space for gatherings, presentations, and performances.


The main construction of the school is cast-in-place walls made of poured local clay mixed with concrete and aggregate. Double-skin roofs and facades made from clay, metal, and local wood act to protect the interiors from damaging rains and winds. An extensive landscaping program aims to introduce trees and vegetation, which will in time reinforce the surrounding soil against desertification. Other technical details include passive ventilation, underground cooling, and automatic irrigation in the surrounding landscaping.

STATUS: Under Construction
SITE: Gando / Burkina Faso

SIZE: 4800
CLIENT: Kéré Foundation (Schulbausteine für Gando e.V.) / Hevert Arzneimittel GmbH und Co Kg / Frank Elstner
AWARDS: Global Holcim Award Gold 2012 / Regional Holcim Award Gold for Africa and Middle East 2011