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Lacaton & Vassal: The Latest Architecture and News

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".

© Anna Mas© Anna Mas© Anna Mas© Anna Mas+ 20

Interventions in Pre-existing Architecture: Adaptive Reuse Projects by Renowned Architects

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.

Centro Cultural Caixa Forum Barcelona by Arata Isozaki. Image © Felipe UgaldeConvento das Bernardas by Eduardo Souto de Moura. Image © Luis Ferreira AlvesTransformation of 530 dwellings in Bordeaux. Image © Philippe RuaultTai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art by Herzog & de Meuron. Image © Iwan Baan+ 9

The Pritzker Architecture Prize Releases Ceremony Video Honouring the 2021 Laureates Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal

Courtesy of Laurent Chalet. ImageAnne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassa
Courtesy of Laurent Chalet. ImageAnne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassa

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.

Transformation of 530 Dwellings. Image © Laurian GhinitoiuFRAC Dunkerque. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu© Philippe RuaultNantes School of Architecture. Image © Philippe Ruault+ 7

Translucency & Raw Materials: A Brief Analysis of Lacaton & Vassal's Solutions

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.

Lacaton & Vassal’s Transformation of 530 Dwellings Through the Lens of Laurian Ghinitoiu

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.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu© Laurian Ghinitoiu+ 25

Who Are Lacaton & Vassal? 15 Things to Know About the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Laureates

House in Bordeaux. Photo courtesy of Philippe RuaultMultipurpose Theater. Photo courtesy of Philippe RuaultTransformation of G, H, I Buildings, Grand Parc. Photo courtesy of Philippe RuaultLatapie House. Photo courtesy of Philippe Ruault+ 12

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.

Lacaton & Vassal: Get to Know 2021 Pritzker Winners' Built Work

© Philippe Ruault© Philippe Ruault© Philippe Ruault© Philippe Ruault+ 12

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.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal Receive the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize

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.

FRAC Dunkerque . Image © Laurian GhinitoiuOurcq Jaures Student & Social Housing. Image Courtesy of Philippe Ruault23 Semi-collective Housing Units. Image Courtesy of Philippe RuaultLatapie House . Image Courtesy of Philippe Ruault+ 37

Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?

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).

Grand Parc Bordeaux Wins 2019 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe Award

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.

© Philippe Ruault, via EU Mies. ImageTransformation of 530 dwellings / Lacaton & Vassal© Philippe Ruault, via EU Mies. ImageTransformation of 530 dwellings / Lacaton & Vassal© Philippe Ruault, via EU Mies. ImageTransformation of 530 dwellings / Lacaton & Vassal© Lacaton & Vassal, via EU Mies. ImageTransformation of 530 dwellings / Lacaton & Vassal+ 9

Lacaton & Vassal's FRAC Dunkerque is an Architectural Echo Both in Form and in Concept

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.

5 Projects Shortlisted for 2019 EU Mies Prize for Contemporary Architecture

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."

The Week in Architecture: Blue Monday and the Aspirations of a New Year

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: 

LocHal / Mecanoo. Image © Ossip van Duivenbode© TMRW, courtesy of Gensler©Jaime NavarroThe Week in Architecture: Blue Monday and the Aspirations of a New Year+ 11

Anne Lacaton Interview: Always Add, Never Withdraw

In this video from the Louisiana Museum, Anne Lacaton from the award-winning practice Lacaton & Vassal describes the importance of building upon existing conditions to create new architecture. She shares the firm's approach to architecture, which is to "never withdraw, always add" and their focus on generosity of space, care of the users, and utilization of existing natural resources to create a more affordable architecture.

Lacaton & Vassal have gained worldwide acclaim for their transformative social housing work. They were awarded the Grand Prix national de l'architecture in 2008, the Heinrich Tessenow Medal in 2016, and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2018, to name a few. Their projects such as the 23 Semi-collective Housing Units in Trignac, France, and Ourcq Jaures Student & Social Housing display a dedication to social responsibility in architecture. In Anne Lacaton's interview, she describes how they mine the richness of existing architecture and the surroundings to create beautiful and affordable designs. Interpreting history as "an addition of layers," she articulates their stance against the idea of tabula rasa and the importance of utilizing the found beauty of existing environments: "We don't see [the existing conditions] as a constraint, we see it as a chance."

23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal . Image © Philippe RuaultFRAC Dunkerque / Lacaton & Vassal . Image © Philippe Ruault23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal . Image © Philippe RuaultNantes School of Architecture / Lacaton & Vassal . Image © Philippe Ruault+ 4

Anne Lacaton: LIVE KEYNOTE from the 7th VELUX Daylight Symposium

Anne Lacaton (France) is an award-winning architect and part of the duo Lacaton & Vassal, having made reuse of existing materials and integration of daylighting in standard construction their signature architecture and adding a social dimension to architectural design.