Duitsland, Deutschland, Germany, Berlin, Berlijn, 22.1.2017. Architekt Francis Kéré. Foto: Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk
Francis Kéré is an award-winning architect based in Berlin, Germany, at Kéré Architecture. Born in the village of Gando in Burkina Faso, he was the first child in the village to be sent to school. Since qualifying as an architect at the Technical University of Berlin he has designed award-winning projects in Burkina Faso, Mali, Yemen and China, including the construction of a number of school buildings in the village of his birth. He is a tenured professor at Harvard University and founder of the Kéré Foundation e.V.
The collaboration between Therme Art and Francis Kéré’s studio, along with the theatre’s relocation to the Miami Design District, represents the latest in a series of architectural projects at the core of Therme Group’s mission—to work with artists and architects in developing large-scale projects that challenge the limitations of conventional exhibition spaces to reach wide and diverse audiences. As both a symbolic and functional space for public gathering, Tugunora underscores Therme Art’s continued support of communal environments and will continue to be a part of its programming after its display at 4141 Design.
Tugunora is a hybrid word formed from the ancient Greek term agora, a public space for assembly and discussion and the Burkinabè word tuguna, a traditional gathering space in Western African villages, where elders come together to confer regarding important matters of the community. While the agora is an open space, the tuguna is often built from a round log structure, which supports a roof of woven leaves.
“The design we did here was intended to get all of you to be part of the debate,” stated Kéré as his opening remark during Therme Forum at Design Miami/ in regards to the Talks Theatre.
Kéré integrated these two concepts into the design of the Talks Theatre through a range of modular and wooden seating elements, varying in height and surrounding the speaker’s podium. Translucent, structural lamps were suspended above the theatre space. Combining the elders’ practice with the agora’s intention of public assembly, the Talks Theatre is an inviting place of exchange and dialogue—a place that generates knowledge and fosters discourses on contemporary art, architecture, design and city planning.
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