Venice Biennale 2012: Grands & Ensembles / France

© Nico Saieh

The subject of the grands ensembles (housing complexes) selected for the French Pavilion is a good example of the ambivalence of an architect’s role, which is often decried; once, the urban environment of towers and large housing complexes was even blamed for social unrest in the “schemes”, also known as “estates” or “projects”. On the contrary, the challenge raised by this exhibition aims to show that contemporary architects have things to say about the “suburban crisis,” by working on “transformation” rather than just “repairs”.

Mediatheque / Complex City

Courtesy of Complex City

Designed by Complex City in an area of , , the Mediatheque is built through network connections and brick concepts. As a place of network connections, the media library becomes a space which preserves and gives access to audio-visual contents, sound documents and video recordings, material considered as cultural testimony with the same value than written documents. This building also has the purpose of exalting the brick, an architectural material considered as a cultural patrimony of this region. More images and architects’ description after the break.

L’Atoll Angers / Antonio Virga Architecte + AAVP Architecture

© Eric Heranval

Architects: Antonio Virga Architecte + AAVP Architecture
Location: Angers,
Project Management: Antonio Virga architect, – Vicent Parreira
Project Managers: Thomas Lastennet architecte, Romain Braida architecte urbanist, Gwendal Herve architecte
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Luc Boegly, Eric Heranval

Otro / L’Escaut Architectures

Courtesy of L’Escaut Architectures

Architects: L’Escaut Architectures
Location: ,
Project Author: Koo Jeong A
Project Year: 2008
Project Area: 212 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of L’Escaut Architectures

LEGO® Architecture Landmark Series: Villa Savoye

® Architecture Series: Villa Savoye

LEGO® has just announced the newest classic building to join the collection of renowned architectural replicas in their Architecture series, the Villa Savoye, designed by Le Corbusier. Capturing the essence of the modernist villa, the small scale replica also makes sure to touch on Corbusier’s well-known ‘five points’. One of the most easily recognizable and renowned examples of the International style, the LEGO version will be available September 1 at a suggested price of $69.99.

Lying on the outskirts of , France, Villa Savoye was designed as a private country house in 1931 and quickly became one of the most influential buildings and cemented Le Corbusier’s reputation as one of the most important architects of the 20th century. More images after the break.

Logement Nancy / ANMA

© Stéphane Chalmeau

Architects: ANMA
Location: , France
Engineering: Betiba
Project Year: 2007
Project Area: 8,200 sqm
Photographs: Stéphane Chalmeau

Toulouse Rangueil Hospital / Art&Build Architects

© Vincent Boutin

Architects: Art&Build Architects
Location: ,
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 13,000 sqm
Photographs: Vincent Boutin

Multi-Sport Complex in Antony / Archi5

© Thomas Jorio

Architects: Archi5
Location: , France
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 3,989 sqm
Photographs: Thomas Jorio

Nursery – Council of Europe / ART & BUILD ARCHITECT

Courtesy of Art&Build

Architects: ART & BUILD ARCHITECT
Location: ,
Project Area: 800 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Art&Build

France Ministry of Defense / ANMA

© ArteFactory

Designed by ANMA to act as a natural machine, the new headquarters of the Ministry of Defense, located in southwestern , includes a health center, restaurants, media and sport centers as well as a crèche. This complex structure, designed around the strictest security requirements, is the largest public building to be built in for 20 years. The structure aims to present an image of the armed forces, not only as a protective force, but a strong and stately force as well. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Video: Paris Vol. 5 / The Seventh Movement

Two friends, the photographers of The Seventh Movement, gave themselves one week to photograph as much of as possible. Unsure of where this would lead, the ambitious project turned out to be larger than they could ever imagine. After an intense week in and spending countless hours editing, organizing and re-editing thousands of photographs, they settled on this time-lapse production – a synthesis of their best work. It is a bit long, but well worth the watch.

Groupe Chèque Déjeuner Headquarters / ART & BUILD ARCHITECT

Courtesy of Art&Build

Architects: ART & BUILD ARCHITECT
Location: Gennevilliers,
Architect In Charge: J.P. Rozé
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 30,000 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Art&Build

Council of Europe / Art&Build Architecs

Courtesy of Art&Build

Architects: Art&Build Architecs
Location: ,
Associate Architect: Denu & Paradon
Project Year: 2007
Project Area: 22,000 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Art&Build

Tourner autour du Ried / StAndré-Lang Architectes

Courtesy of StAndré-Lang Architectes

Architects: StAndré-Lang Architectes
Location: 67600 ,
Design Team: Bastien Saint-André, Maxime Lang
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 20 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of StAndré-Lang Architectes

Roller Coaster / Peripheriques Architectes + BERRANGER & VINCENT Architectes

© Stéphane Chalmeau

Architects: Peripheriques Architectes +  BERRANGER & VINCENT Architectes
Location: Île de Nantes, Nantes,
Project Managers: Sébastien Truchot (), Antoine Roy (BERRANGER & VINCENT Architectes)
Project Year: 2008
Project Area: 6,200 sqm
Photographs: Stéphane Chalmeau

Reframe / Paul Scales and Atelier Kit

© Pierre Berthelomeau

Created by Paul Scales and Atelier Kit for the 7th annual ‘Le Festival des Architectures Vives ’ in , France, Reframe explores the theme of ‘surprise’ through the creation of an object that reframes the relation of the visitor to the space, the historic architecture and the other visitors. The festival is comprised of an architectural walking tour through the historic city center where heritage sites are opened up to modern architecture. Visitors experience a shift from the position of observer to observed, from control to controlled and willingly or not, become engaged in a game of surprise and be surprised. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Films & Architecture: “My Uncle”

This week we want to introduce a film by one of the filmmakers that cannot be out of this list. We’re talking about , the French director, writer, and actor that made his first color movie in 1958, ”Mon Oncle”.

Tati shows how the modern age affects and dramatically changes the way that people live. All the new technologies at that moment are incorporated in the scenes, were the interaction between this new concept of “modern spaces” and people is an element present in most of the movie.

What do you think about this approach of how modernity influenced (or still influencing) the way of living of our societies?

Wine Concept Store / COMPLEX CITY

Courtesy of

COMPLEX CITY shared with us their Wine Concept Store which is focused around three basic concepts: the vertical, the visual, and sensitivity. The image of the vine and its linearity are the starting point of this verticality that is reflected in the facade while the curve expresses a sensitivity related to a sensory awareness that takes place during the taste of wine. More images and architects’ description after the break.