The French duo of Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal are known for their delicate interventions, repurposing neglected structures with apparent effortlessness. Originally published on the Harvard Gazette website entitled “They Build, But Modestly,” this article recounts the lessons which they offered students in a recent lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Around 1980, two young architects finished their training in Bordeaux, France, and moved to Nigeria. In that African nation’s remote regions, they were inspired by the simple structures they saw amid the stark, stunning desert landscapes. The houses were open to the air, had utilitarian thatched roofs, and were made with bits of local wood. Modesty prevailed in structures that also invited beauty.
The lessons of building in Africa stayed with Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal in their Paris-based practice, Lacaton & Vassal: use what is there, stay simple, embrace open air, and honor light, freedom, and grace. They practice social architecture based on economy, modesty, and the found beauty of environments.
Architects: Pascale Guédot Architecte
Location: Bourg-la-Reine, France
Design Team: Pascale Guédot Architecte ; Loïc Levisalles, chef de projet ; Luca Antognoli, assistant ; FORR, Carolina Fois, paysagiste ; Speeg + Michel, concepteurs lumière ; Batiserf, BET structure ; Alto, BET fluides et HQE ; Ayda, acousticien ; Forgue, économiste ; CL Infra, BET VRD ; Global, OPC ; Ateliers 59, signalétique
Area: 2000.0 sqm
Photographs: Hervé Abbadie
From April 10, the Frac Centre will host “Relief(s)— Designing the Horizon”, a series of exhibitions, workshops, and meetings exploring the place of the relief in the timeline of modern art. Over five months the work of Yasuaki Onishi, Gérard Singer, and Aurélie Pétrel will be on display alongside a host of supplementary cultural and educational programs. Hoping to “[shed] new light on the way in which contemporary art can renew our reading of the landscape and, more broadly the environment”, the exhibition will run until September 19. Learn more about the artists involved and view selected works after the break.
With an idea based on “flexibility, mingling and openness,” Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates have been announced as winners of a restricted competition to design a new Ecole Polytechnique learning center at Paris-Saclay University. The winning scheme, chosen over four finalists, will consolidate six institutions under one roof: Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Mines-Telecom, AgroParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, ENSAE ParisTech and Institut d’Optique (IOGS).