"More Space, More Light, More Green: A New Vision of Social Housing". A Dialogue with Anne Lacaton

Abstract : Anne Lacaton was born in 1955 in the South-West of France. She studied architecture in Bordeaux. In 1987 she founded, with Jean-Philippe Vassal (born in 1954 in Casablanca) the Lacaton & Vassal Architecture Studio. During the 1990's they mostly worked on individual houses in the region of Bordeaux, working on the relationship between the house and the context it was conceived for, and promoting an approach to housing that already insisted on the quality of life as perceived and experimented by the inhabitants in their daily life. One of their first important public commission was for a new building for the University of Grenoble, in the French Alps. Here again, they envisioned a building where space and light were provided generously by the architects, with the intent of making life inside the building a more positive experience, connected to the outside rich natural landscape. But they soon also developed, while continuing to work on public buildings and museums, a specific vision of social housing, which made their studio one of the most creative in France. Their main idea, which led them to the invention of new housing spaces, was again to give dwellers more space, more light and more freedom. This resulted in a posture of critical re-examination of existing housing standards inherited from the 1950s, the inertia of which was seen as a limitation for the invention of new forms of collective housing. With their vast spaces, their attention to the context and their trust in the appropriation capacity of housing spaces by the dwellers, and their belief that every operation is unique and deserves to be treated as such, they contributed to a profound renewal in the vision of collective housing in France. Their Cité Manifeste, social housing project in Mulhouse was particularly remarked, as well as realizations in Saint-Nazaire. In 2008 they were awarded the Grand Prix National d'Architecture the most prestigious architecture award in France and they won in 2011 with Frédéric Druot the Equerre d'Argent, for the rehabilitation of the Bois-Le-Prêtre housing tower in Paris. This completely re-invented tower became their signature project and gave them international recognition. The tower had been built by architect Raymond Lopez in 1959 in the wake of his Berlin experiments of 1957 and had become, in spite of an effort of renovation in the 1990s, a symbol of the decrepitude of modernist realizations of that time. This realization gave ideas by Lacaton & Vassal and Druot, against the demolition/ reconstruction dominant paradigm in urban regeneration a huge impact and illustrated their concept of renovation without eviction. The façade was transformed into winter gardens and balconies.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Speech, 2014, pp.238-253
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Contributeur : Denis Bocquet <>
Soumis le : lundi 2 juin 2014 - 16:15:33
Dernière modification le : lundi 16 juillet 2018 - 11:17:04


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Denis Bocquet. "More Space, More Light, More Green: A New Vision of Social Housing". A Dialogue with Anne Lacaton. Speech, 2014, pp.238-253. 〈hal-00998748〉



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