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 17 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=10157>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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?

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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


  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0


    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

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  16. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    ah, ah
    use Guy Debord as an alibi !! you are a mess, a catastroph , a lier, or just a wasp my friend Frix.
    Do you know metabolism, constant, fluxus… of course not.. do have you red ”la societe du spectacle” of course not. How architect use references just to diqualify what they don t know… your society is the inquisition because yu are scared…, ben is right, stay where you are, become bitter, and never try to capture life,the intensity of life with its complexity, you are a dead man wrapped by jalousy, bitter and cowardeness… shame on you… rsie are exactly at you opposite, courageous, inovative… ils n aboient pas avec la meute (in french)and take the risk of their own practice…without copism… it s a model of integrity and intelligence for many young architects…
    From a girly one who hate what you represent. A

  17. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Wow, looks like Rsie gets you in a sentimental mood Amelie…

    Of course I didnt read La sté du spectacle, Deleuze, Constant. Of course i dont know what situationism is. I have to confess it: i have never read a single book of my whole life except autocad’s user guide. Thank you for telling me the true truth, long life to architectural innovations, let Francois Roche improve human being with his great work, i should be sent to goulag and burn in hell, keep hating me, i deserve it, im such a freak.

  18. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Desole Amelie, mais ce n’est pas en insultant les gens que l’on se fait mieux comprendre. J’approuve le travail de Francois Roche, mais le but n’est pas de recreer encore une fois une nouvelle tribu, avec ses codes et ses fanatismes, comme les hommes et femmes en noir de Jean Nouvel ou la masse de jeunes gens en colere autour de Breton ou Debord. Il faut admettre la resistance quand elle est intelligente, c’est juste une forme de respect pour tous, surtout au sein d’un meme corps de metier, nous avons tous a apprendre de chacun. Il ne faut jamais oublie que contrairement aux artistes traditionnels, nous architectes, ne creeons jamais seul, mais par un dialogue constant avec l’Autre.

    Frix, you have to admit that the text following this design, presented here is not sufficient to explain the political and architectural implications of R&Sie’s work. If you are not interested it’s fine, but if you are interested I would recommend you to go on their website.
    R&Sie are maybe the only one office in the Avant-garde to offer a different angle to the whole ecological, biomorph trend. They are definitely not formal, like Z.Hadid or Un-Studio, or Edouard Francois, Jacob & Mac Farlane, and they are as well starting to build.
    My favorite work of them is Spidernetwood, with a very interesting text by Bruce Sterling.
    They definitely deserve some reading…


  19. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Je me suis cogné l’intégralité du site de rsie avant de poster mon premier message. Certes, c’est parfois drôle, c’est habile dans la représentation, les textes et l’univers peuvent être séduisants au premier abord mais c est tout. Que ce mec là me cite à longueur de temps des références situationistes et avec une telle assurance me laisse littéralement coi; le situationisme, enfin ce que j’en retiens moi, après tout le monde en retient ce qu’il veut, c’est exactement l’inverse du point de départ commun aux travaux de François Roche, à savoir le cynisme. Kim, libre a toi de penser qu’il s’agit d’un avant gardiste, j’ose pour ma part espérer que l’avant garde na pas a ce point renoncer à l’architecture

  20. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    ”Renoncer a l’ architecture”, voila qui en dit long sur ta petite vie de criminel, abjecte et vil…
    rien a dire de plus, j ai honte de t avoir meme regardé et parlé / il n’y a que les cons qui ose tout, et c est a cela qu on les reconnait (audiar) / / pauvre petit mec / A

  21. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thanks for unmasking them, dear Amelie
    This plateform is only driven by typical and ridiculous ”Male architects” . Why little boy are so coward, both in love and architecture ? because they prefer their own reflect in the miror, and by this way deal with politician / Frix, I m sure you are the both. In your miror check what is behind your glory, your certitude, your lying and fake appareance, if you do this effort, and only in this case, you will perceive what means works similar as RSie, if not, pass your life as you are slave little boy…

  22. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Non, non. N’ assimile pas tous les garcons a Frix. SVP. C est un con et ca se voit, d’ accord. Mais a quoi cela sert de parler avec ce genre de frenchy etriqué et abimé par 5 ans d’ abrutissement ideologique dans une UP francaise. J en sors a peine et peut te dire qu elle effort il faut pour resister a la betise et a sa domination. Ce Frix, c’est juste une victime… laisse le tranquille…

  23. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Aw, don’t start speaking French, I was enjoying the creative English.

    I have no professional relationship to architecture whatsoever, so I have the advantage of no baggage regarding ideological camps and the advantage of little credibility. That said, I think the key problems with this project individually (I can’t speak to the firm’s body of work in general) isn’t only about its sense of the world or its attitude. I think it’s very aesthetically unpleasant. It’s been made to look like a sort of monster of the swamp, but it just ends up feeling like a cartoon of architecture, rather than a serious investigation. It is not ugly because it’s too wild, too new, or too far from convention. It’s just ugly because the colors look like feces and the form looks like feces, and the resulting gestalt is ugliness.

    Also, something I do know a good deal about is art and art museums, and this is inappropriate beyond belief for such a space. First of all, an interior of this shape will be totally unrelated to conventional exhibition interiors (convention here is important, even if it isn’t in architecture). What that means is that artists will have to develop new work just for this one obscure project, otherwise their work will be out of place. Art is made in relation to a fuzzy conception of conventional exhibition space. Some deviation is OK. But no flat walls means that you can’t show a painting here, so everything becomes some kind of new-media installation and the quality of the work in practice will always go down. Bilbao was controversial mostly because the facade might have distracted from the art inside. Here, the facade is not only overbearing, but the interior is as well. Good sewage plant, bad art museum.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. I’m not a conservative in the least, especially not when it comes to aesthetics. And from the perspective of someone outside of these arguments, those of Frix and Chris and company tend to be much clearer and soundly reasoned, and their opponents tend to call a lot of names and get flustered. That evidences to me that in the larger world, the sewage team might be feeling defensive, which would imply that they are losing many of these arguments.

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