French architects Lacaton and Vassal take Pritzker Prize

Pair is best known for repurposing older structures, including social housing complexes

National /
Mar.March 16, 2021 05:46 PM
Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal and École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes. (photos courtesy of Laurent Chalet and Philippe Ruault)

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal and École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes. (photos courtesy of Laurent Chalet and Philippe Ruault)

The winners of this year’s Pritzker Prize for architecture are not starchitects known for glittering skyscrapers or controversial designs.

Rather, French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, who were awarded the profession’s top prize Tuesday, are known for repurposing and adding to older buildings. Those include the contemporary art center, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, which was originally built for the 1937 World’s Fair; along with social housing complexes throughout France.

Among the works cited by the Pritzker jury was Lacaton and Vassal’s update of a 1960s housing complex in Bordeaux, France. Rather than demolishing and rebuilding the old apartment blocks, the pair added large terraces that brought more light and air into each unit.

“There are too many demolitions of existing buildings which are not old, which still have a life in front of them, which are not out of use,” Lacaton told the New York Times. “We think that is too big a waste of materials. If we observe carefully, if we look at things with fresh eyes, there is always something positive to take from an existing situation.”

In its jury citation, the Pritzker committee cited the pair for “a commitment to a restorative architecture that is at once technological, innovative, and ecologically responsive,” noting that sustainability and a “democratic spirit” are central to their work.

The pair’s win is also noteworthy because it is one of the few times in the prize’s history that a female architect has been named a laureate. The late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid was the first female laureate, in 2004; most recently, Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara won the prize in 2020.

[NYT] — Amy Plitt






    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    A rendering of 12 Eileen’s Path, East Hampton (Corcoran)
    Think buying in the Hamptons is tough? Try building
    Think buying in the Hamptons is tough? Try building
    The property, known as the Haupt Residence. (Compass)
    Charles Gwathmey-designed Amagansett home lists for $9.3M
    Charles Gwathmey-designed Amagansett home lists for $9.3M
    75 Main in Southampton and John Catsimatidis (75Main, Getty)
    Squid pro quo: Hamptonites offer cash, lavish gifts for dinner reservations
    Squid pro quo: Hamptonites offer cash, lavish gifts for dinner reservations
    Winery owner Giovanni Borghese (Facebook via Borghese Vineyard)
    Rare vintage: Long Island’s oldest winery hits the market
    Rare vintage: Long Island’s oldest winery hits the market
    Aaron and Henry Manoucheri of Universe Holdings and Mariners Cove in Toms River (Universe Holdings, Google Maps)
    Universe Holdings buys NJ townhomes for $60M in national expansion
    Universe Holdings buys NJ townhomes for $60M in national expansion
    15 West Dune Lane, East Hampton (Corcoran)
    Beaches, ponds, views: What water access costs in the Hamptons
    Beaches, ponds, views: What water access costs in the Hamptons
    What's next for the East End's community preservation fund?
    What’s next for the East End’s community preservation fund?
    What’s next for the East End’s community preservation fund?
    (Riverview Center)
    Albany-area Riverview Center sells for $19M at auction
    Albany-area Riverview Center sells for $19M at auction
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...