Waterflux / R&Sie(n)

Architects: R&Sie(n)
Location: Évolène,
Creative Team: François Roche, Stéphanie Lavaux, Jean Navarro
Engineer: Guscetti & Tournier, Geneva
Interior Design: + Mathieu Lehanneur (furnitures)
Museum design concept and apparatus: Mathieu Lehanneur
Key dimensions: 1,000 sqm
Client: Maison des Alpes, Public Foundation
Photographs: ©François Roche/R&Sie(n)

“Mais voilà qu’en travers de notre route se dressa une silhouette voilée, de proportions beaucoup plus vaste que celles d’aucun habitant de la terre. Et la couleur de la peau de la silhouette était de la blancheur parfaite de la neige… ”
E. A. Poe, les Aventures de Gordon Pym, traduction C. Baudelaire.

Design of a building for an art museum/alpine ice research station Scenario:

1) Digitization of the envelope of a traditional habitat.
2) Scooping out hollows within this volume as if it were an ice cavity, but in full wood by a 5 axes drill machine.
3) Water states and flows vary according to the seasons: The ice flows and freezes; the ice façades freeze and melt, forming a pond in front of the building.
4) Exacerbation of the winter climate by artificial snow (500 m3)
5) Construction by CNC machine processing, 5 axes, in full wood (2000m3-1000 trees) and reassembling the manufactured 180 pieces on site.
6) Reactivation of local economy

You can see a video about the installation here:

YouTube Preview Image

Amorphous mutations that suddenly get the form of an art museum that will be finished in 2009, it seems that R&Sie architecture evaluates architecture’s degree of reality transforming pieces taken out of a plastic dimension to convert them in high quality architecture.

The museum, designed with the most organics forms that we can find in nature, clearly represents the team philosophy of “Making with…”, that is their way of describing their research into a critical experience of architecture through a mutation of contextual parameters.

As François says in their web-site, scenarios of hybridization, grafting, cloning, morphing give rise to perpetual transformation of architecture which strives to break down the antinomies of object/subject or object/territory.

R&Sie(n) is an architectural office set up in 1989 and lead by François Roche (1961, France), Stéphanie Lavaux (1966, France), based in Paris. The organic, oppositional architectural projects of their practice is concerned with the bond between building, context and human relations. Roche explains his concept of ‘’spoiled climate” chameleon architecture, which links and hybrids the human body to the body of architecture by a re-scenarization on the rules of all the natures, even artificial. They use speculations and fictions as process to dis-alienate the post-capitalism subjectivities, in the pursuit of Toni Negri. R&Sie(n) consider architectural identity as an unstable concept, defined through temporary forms in which the vegetal and biological become a dynamic element.

Cite: Baraona Pohl, Ethel. "Waterflux / R&Sie(n)" 12 Dec 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=10157>
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  • roadkill

    looks like the stomach lining of a cow… sorry but would be nice to have some sort of plan or organisation diagram for those of us who are not fluent in bullshit

  • http://www.odris.blogspot.com odris

    what is this….

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  • observer

    alright, who took a crap in the model shop???

  • http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com Contemporary Art

    I feel like all the crazy technology required to build this could be applied to something much more beautiful. And I’m not sure I understand the mesh cube around it either.


  • woody

    Are they proposing cutting down 1000 trees to biuld this crap ? I hope it’s a joke.
    Renderings remind me of the early 3d cartoons.
    The model looks better but still the ecological impact is to big.

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  • bromalco

    another project that takes influence fromnature and tries to pass it for an ecological building. Architecture is fast becoming the battle on who can bullshit the most and get away with it. To be honest it is a wonderfully sculpted form but for future reference, dont tell us its ecological.

  • http://www.arcspace.com/studio/saana/saana_sketches.html Stephen


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  • Bo

    WTF!? Претензия на гениальность? И сколько же труда на кучу какашек угрохали!

  • ned

    what a load a crap hading behind eco-green …

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  • archal

    Must be fun to create the maxscript. But beyond that, don’t try to pass this off as anything (new) or (environmental). I’ve seen loads of (unbuilt) projects like this, I’ve even been a part of creating a few. I’ve been impressed by the technical process behind the form generation, and the creation of study models.

    But all that crap about water and ice is totally unproven in their process – I’d argue they are just trying to reverse engineer a randomly generated form. Ultimately, its just used to guise the fact that this is a death trap as soon as ice forms and starts falling on people.

    Glad it got built though. A friend of mine designed something startlingly similar to this in his 2nd year of architecture school.

  • http://www.eatas.com.au Thiefsie

    If nothing else, at least they have money to burn?

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  • chris

    I hate it when designers incorporate their narrow scientific understanding into architectural propositions.

    This is blobitecture at its worst; who wants to inhabit a pile of shit?

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  • Georges

    Great research, many previous comments in this blog are very traditional in a pure conservatism way. It s incredible how architect are jalous about something they dont understand, and how they spread their bitterness when they are confronted to unpublishing, unedited production.
    R&Sie(n) are clearly one of the top ten group of research about bio-machine, bio-processes, ecosophical protocols but never in the moralistic ecological way, for naive and childly attitude….. check the works on http://www.new-territories.com, even their last project http://www.new-territories.com/lostinparis.htm >>>>>>>>>between freaks and knowledge / georges from Atlanta

  • Ben

    yes, you are right my friend. Architects are so slave about their practices, and afraid to discover and be confronted to unknown that they prefer mimicking by copism and replicate shapes from the others they have previoulsy consumed.
    Many comments are here just scary little children speeches, ”they have to come back to Daddy protection”… the Chris one is a typical example of cowardice. He is afraid of something he don t understand, to protect his own selffishnesspride, he has first to disqualify the unknow. I hate this kind of people. The word is deeply corrupted because of them, they use moralism as the criminals…some years before, this type of guy was torturing the others, as inquisition period, just to force them to be slave. I m deeply interrested by the works of R&Sie(n) and also their teaching course (Google – (n)certainties- columbia) b

  • Frix

    Francois Roche is showing us same renders since ten years, whatever the program is, whatever the context is.
    PLEASE stop saying there is a concept behind these. I’m ok with progress but burning a thousand trees in that bullshit will never re-invent architecture.
    Anyway, he’ll never build it, as the hundred ones he designed before… At this point, it should be called stupidity AND masochism

  • chris

    ben you’re a sycophant, grow up.

  • Ben

    yOU SHOULD GO ON THE SITE (not so far from Sion)

    I M FROM the Valais, and i could say that the trees are coming from the management of the forest, on four years, not from the erasing of the mountain, and the economy of the village is becoming to grow because of this project / from forest management to wood manufacturing in the valley to back to the mountain…by reassembling 3d axes pieces.
    I saw the prototype in Basel, of 3x2x2 meters, and my friend it was not an illusion

    I m not the lawyer of RsieFroche, but do you think that building with Dust in Thailand, or wood in the forest, or cow in countryside, or hydroponic in a courtyard garden…etc are the same project !!! are you stupid or blind or the both ?

    Im sure you are boxy addicted, some kind of children between the ridiculous Diener and Diener or the tricky PRahm …doing boxy climate from the Alps mountain / Switzerland talks to switzerland.

    Just jalous architects, as many and many


  • Ben

    just to add
    Ecology is something about anthroposophy. as a system in loop / not to protect a forest which is coming from human industry ? you confuse natures and your personnal teddy bear ! b

  • Amelie


    Macho versus macho, Its become hard and violent talking here in this forum.
    Who is the WWCHA ”worst white caucasian heterosexual architect” talkings ?
    Chris Yes for sure, Frix in training period, and Ben for futur generation…
    Take care that the bitterness doesnt strangle you, and be cool.
    Of course this project is a freak, but Tod Browning, Antonin Artaud, Bataille, and Rabelais was manipulating this kind of borderline notion
    Why architecture has to stay elegant, bourgeois (as you), and cannot provok repulsion … as a political meaning in the world of today. Do you think architects has to stay in a ghetto of beauty, with the modulor in the back pocket ? and I agree with Ben, with the boxy version of modulor in the back pocket ?

    love and be sweet, amelie

  • http://www.l-a-v-a.net Kim

    Go Ben, Go, hit him hard!!!
    Chris, go back to your autocad light and keep on hatching toilet blocks !!!

    Forums in general have become sewage pipe for opinions. The WWW, seriously is not a proof of democracy, but more a statement for how a community can turn into a dictatorship of opinions. We have recreated a Babel of billions people, hypnotize into a collective hallucination, an illusion of community. We transformed a good willing utopia into a nightmare. The work of R&Sie knows this ambiguity, this paradox, these bad dreams, and they use them to re-create a strange kind of beauty, in the Real world, locally.

    Too many weirdos are convinced that their comments have any critical value, when they obviously are devoid of any intellectual ground.

    Yes Ben and Amelie, you are right, people are scared. The more we are heading towards the unknown and the unpredictable, the more people are nostalgic. But their fear is grappling on a corpse of theories that they don’t even remember and understand….Scared people holding on principles… They are post-modern cretins.

  • chris

    I am confused as to how my dislike of this one meritless project has come to me being “scared” and “conservative”.
    you people don’t know my tastes, or interests. This project is simply rhetorical, as with most this architect’s work, in the likeness of eisenman, and todd williams & billie tsien. He’s had a couple of good projects and he does something different, however, in execution this project is aweful.

    if the internet is a sewage pipe, your shit swirls right around with mine.

  • Frix

    First thing to keep a forum “democratic” should be people to stay polite and avoid direct judgements on users…
    Thinking Francois Roche is going the wrong way doing this kind of autonom objects doesnt make me a “boxy addicted” or a swiss lover. I think his work doesnt belong to “Real world” as Kim says but rather to society of spectacle. I willingly admit that it doesnt miss of any intellingence, neither of any habilety in the presentation meaning. But it just stinks emptiness.
    Just dont agree with the idea of making architecture with this cynical look on reality. This is not a lack of “intellectual ground” as you said kim, or a nostalgic position.