The global pause of the COVID pandemic has provided an opportunity to assess present-day globalism and the architecture that has emerged alongside it. Stemming back to the broad expansion of free trade in the 90s at the end of the Cold War, globalism’s cultural promise was simple and aspirational: integrating markets globally would increase the interaction between and learning of different cultures. By normalizing such experiences in our daily lives, we would become global citizens liberated from our previous prejudices–all well-intentioned objectives.
Lacaton & Vassal: The Latest Architecture and News
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
Intervention at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion Reflects on the Rehabilitation of Large-scale Housing Blocks
The Mies van der Rohe foundation presents “Never Demolish” a temporary intervention by curators Ilka and Andreas Ruby that explores the “Transformation of 530 dwellings in the Grand Parc Bordeaux” project by the Pritzker laureates Lacaton & Vassal architects, Frédéric Druot Architecture, and Christophe Hutin Architecture. Running until December 16th, the pavilion is transformed into a domestic space that allows visitors to "deepen the debate on housing and the rehabilitation model of the large-scale blocks of the 60s and 70s".
Responsible use and consumption of natural resources and the impacts of the building industry have been ongoing concerns in the field of architecture and urban planning. In the past, concepts such as clean slates, mass demolitions, and building brand new structures were widely accepted and encouraged. Nowadays, a transformation seems to be taking place, calling for new approaches such as recycling, adaptive reuse, and renovations, taking advantage of what is already there. This article explores a selection of projects and provides a glimpse into interventions by renowned architects in pre-existing buildings.
The Pritzker Architecture Prize Releases Ceremony Video Honouring the 2021 Laureates Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal
The Pritzker Architecture Prize released a special ceremony video honouring the 2021 laureates Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal. Previously held in person, each time at a different architecturally significant venue around the world, this year’s ceremony is the second pre-filmed event in the history of the Prize, following the one in 2020. The ceremony features filmed remarks from various speakers, among which are several jury members, Jury Chair Alejandro Aravena, the 2020 Prize recipients Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, as well as this year’s Laureates themselves. The video also pays tribute to the achievements of Lacaton and Vassal through footage of their built work.
Paulo Mendes da Rocha often says that the function of architecture is nothing more than ‘supporting the unpredictability of life’. Spaces stand everyday life, meetings, landscape, art. Something like a frame, which is often also considered a supporting element of a work of art, since it highlights and, mainly, directs the viewer's gaze to the main object. The phrase of the Brazilian architect combines well with the way that the Lacaton & Vassal office works. The French couple's award raises some questions about how accurate their choices are for the current moment in the world. This includes the philosophy of their work, the design solutions adopted and the material palette generally adopted.
Renowned photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has shared with ArchDaily a series of photos of one of the most influential projects of recent Pritzker Laureates, Anne Lacaton, and Jean-Philippe Vassal. The Transformation of the 530 dwellings in Bordeaux, 3 modernist residential buildings, reflect Lacaton & Vassal's sensitivity towards understanding existing structures. It also highlights how with minimal interventions, radical changes can be made to the habitability and usability of a modernist building -knowing that in Europe, the majority of these structures have ended up being demolished-. This approach was enough to select this transformation as the winner of the EU Mies 2019 Award, for the best contemporary architecture in Europe.
With a formal and material approach that differs from the scenarios we usually find in Architecture, Lacaton & Vassal —a French practice that marks its influence in contemporary times by being awarded the Pritzker Prize 2021— brings an open and generous vision to the field.
Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal founded their architectural studio Lacaton & Vassal in 1987, years after studying and working together at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Bordeaux. The practice established in Paris has been awarded this year’s prestigious 2021 Pritzker Prize. Their built work leaves strong evidence of what they believe is relevant: sustainability, wellbeing, social responsibility, and the readaptation and the respect of the existing built environment.
The 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture’s highest honor, has been granted to Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, founders of Lacaton & Vassal, the French duo renowned for their multiple sustainable housing projects and for the Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art gallery in Paris. In their three decades of work, Lacaton & Vassal always prioritized the “enrichment of human life”, benefiting the individual and supporting the evolution of the city.
Transformation of 530 Homes – Grand Parc Bordeaux by Lacaton & Vassal architectes, Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture has been awarded the 2019 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. The innovative renovation of three large blocks of social housing in Bordeaux was praised for “radically improving the space and quality of life of its occupants” and for optimizing their economic and environmental cost of living.
As industry has shifted over the past century, in format, location, and type, the manufacturing and industrial spaces scattered across the western world have been repurposed. You have no doubt seen these structures, though perhaps without realizing. The large windows, high ceilings, and open floor plans optimized for factory work now mark the territory of the “creative class”. Such spaces have been disproportionately appropriated by creative industries such as arts and architecture; think of Herzog + de Meuron’s renovation of the Tate Modern (from a former power station) or the recent collaborative transformation of a locomotive yard into a library in the Netherlands.
Five finalist projects have been shortlisted for the 2019 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, an award given jointly by the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation. The biennial prize, for which ArchDaily is a media partner, recognizes the Europe-located projects that demonstrate excellence in "conceptual, social, cultural, technical, and constructive terms."
For those in the northern hemisphere, the last full week in January last week kicks off with Blue Monday - the day claimed to be the most depressing of the year. Weather is bleak, sunsets are early, resolutions are broken, and there’s only the vaguest glimpse of a holiday on the horizon. It’s perhaps this miserable context that is making the field seem extra productive, with a spate of new projects, toppings out and, completions announced this week.
The week of 21 January 2019 in review, after the break: