Iwan Baan & Francis Kéré: Momentum of Light
Francis Kéré, Iwan Baan
Kunstmuseum Olten & Lars Müller Publishers, 2021
Across the African continent, but especially in the the sub-Saharan region, the light provided by the sun has a particularly stark quality – a fact that becomes apparent in traditional buildings and in the way sunlight shapes the daily routines of their inhabitants. With no artificial light, architecture had to make use of sunlight to create a light source within a building, yet at the same time it had to protect the inhabitants of a house from its intensity. The result is a vernacular architecture that works with very few or small openings. They render the inside of a building nearly pitch black while the outside is illuminated by glaring sunshine.
On the initiative of the lighting company Zumtobel Group, architectural photographer Iwan Baan and architect Francis Kéré set out to capture how the sun’s natural light cycle shapes vernacular architecture in Burkina Faso. Iwan Baan’s pictures are accompanied by architectural sketches from Francis Kéré, who grew up in this light environment and whose architecture is inspired by it. The stunning photographs are printed in a special technique to give a sense of being immersed in the very light conditions that are documented.