Praemium Imperiale 2023 awarded to Francis Kéré

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The Japan Art Association honors architect and TUM Professor Diébédo Francis Kéré for his life's work with the Praemium Imperiale 2023. The highly endowed and well-known cultural prize has been awarded in the genres of architecture, painting, sculpture, music and theater since 1988.

Image: Tino Pohlmann / Heynstudios Berlin

Just last year, Francis Kéré was the recipient of the world-renowned Pritzker Prize. Kéré is known for his socially engaged architecture that focuses on participation, sustainable materials, and resource-conserving construction, including the National Assembly Building in Burkina Faso and the Serpentine Pavilion in London, which he designed with his office Kéré Architecture
Besides his architectural practice, he has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, and Yale University. Since 2017, Francis Kéré has been a professor for architectural design and participation at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). 
Kéré's work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions: In 2017, the first monographic exhibition at TUM's Architekturmuseum attracted over 50,000 visitors. Today Francis Kéré is one of the most important contemporary architects. With his own foundation, the "Kéré Foundation", he has committed himself to the implementation of a sustainable architecture in Burkina Faso. 

The architect has already been awarded a number of prestigious prizes. The internationally renowned Praemium Imperiale art award is presented annually to individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement and promotion of the arts. The Praemium Imperiale was originally established by the Imperial House of Japan to commemorate and honor Prince Takamatsu. The award is endowed with 15 million yen. It will be presented by the Imperial House of Japan at a ceremony in Tokyo in the fall. This year's recipients include the architect Francis Kéré, the installation artist Ólafur Elíasson, the painter Vija Celmins, the jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, and the theater maker Robert Wilson. In addition, two Grants for Young Artists were awarded, selected by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: The Harlem School of the Arts in New York and the Rural Studio at Auburn University in Alabama.

The Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has already congratulated Francis Kéré on receiving the award: "Dear Mr. Kéré, I have learned with great pleasure that you have been awarded the Praemium Imperiale 2023 in the category of Architecture. I congratulate you most sincerely! Your work is a source of inspiration! Your architecture combines functionality, sustainability, traditional craftsmanship and aesthetics. Ecology is very close to your heart. [...]
I think you could hardly do better. No wonder this has not gone unnoticed by the Japan Art Association, whose decision I am certainly not the only one to be very pleased with. I wish you all the best, and remain curious to see what more interesting and innovative architectural projects you come up with."

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