The Architect duo Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been named this year’s laureates of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.
They met in the late 1970s at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Bordeaux, before establishing their Paris-based studio, Lacaton & Vassal, in 1987.
The architects are best known for their positive attitude to renovation, describing demolition as an “act of violence“, as well as their numerous social housing projects across France.
Transformation of 530 Dwellings, 2017, Bordeaux
Transformation of 530 Dwellings is the overhaul of a 1960s social housing block in Bordeaux, which won the Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.
The subtle renovation, carried out by the duo with Frédéric Druot Architecture and Christophe Hutin Architecture, made the homes brighter and provided each one with winter gardens and open-air balconies.
House in Bordeaux, 1999, Bordeaux
A former biscuit factory was overhauled to create the House in Bordeaux, a dwelling composed of a sequence of contrasting rooms, beginning with an entrance through a dark garage.
To connect the centre of the house to the outside, the duo removed part of the architecture factory’s roof and replaced it with transparent polycarbonate sheeting that introduces natural light and outward views.
École Nationale Supérieur de Nantes, 2009, Nantes
This architecture school in western France is composed of three tall, glass-lined storeys positioned nine, sixteen and twenty-two metres above ground level, linked by an external ramp.
It uses a lightweight steel structure that gives rise to generously-sized, pared-back interiors and is designed to be easily adapted or extended to meet the changing needs of the school.
FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, 2013, Dunkirk
Lacaton & Vassal sensitively restored a derelict shipbuilding workshop and mirrored it with a polycarbonate extension to create the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais art gallery.
Their design was the winning entry of an architecture competition for the building, which is now home to an international art collection, archival spaces and exhibition halls.
Ourcq-Juarès Student and Social Housing, 2014, Paris
Located in the 19th district of Paris, this residential scheme comprises student residences and social housing as well as a care home and three shops.
Almost all the living rooms and kitchens are positioned overlooking a garden. They also open onto a private winter garden and balcony, to provide occupants with a connection to the outside architecture while ensuring thermal comfort in both summer and winter.