The Place for Gathering broaches two themes that are crucial to the work of Francis Kéré: maximizing local resources and facilitating the exchange of ideas and knowledge. As a native of Burkina Faso, Francis grew up in the rural village of Gando. Located just at the edge of the Sahel, it is a place with very challenging climatic conditions and limited resources. Many villages here are remote, and community members depend on one another for the survival and prosperity of the group as a whole. The community helps to rear and educate the children, build and maintain the housing, and cultivate crops that help to sustain the village. In this sense, the village community can be seen as a great extended family. From an architectural standpoint, it is essential to designate spaces where people can come together and communicate. Whether for celebrating special events, having discussions about important decisions to be made, or simply coming together to gossip and share stories, these common spaces are vital for the everyday functions of the village.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial in its own way represents a community coming together with varying viewpoints from all over the world. Kéré Architecture wanted to make space within the historic Chicago Cultural Center for visitors to reflect upon and discuss these ideas. Made simply with locally-sourced wood, the Place for Gathering is a seating terrain where visitors can connect in a very basic and informal way. Despite the great differences between Gando and Chicago, the intervention makes space for differing cultural narratives, traditions and aspirations to be celebrated and shared.
STATUS: Temporary Exhibition
SITE: Chicago Cultural Center / Chicago / USA
SIZE: 30 m²
CLIENT: Chicago Architecture Biennial