Architecture’s highest honour - for redeveloping existing buildings.

17 March 2021

Re-use existing buildings if you can.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been awarded the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize which is known internationally as architecture’s highest honour.

As well as new developments the French Architects are known for repurposing buildings rather than building from scratch.

One of their larger project was transforming the La Tour Bois le Prêtre (Paris, France 2011), a 17-story, 96-unit city housing project originally built in the early 1960s. The architects increased the interior square footage of every unit through the removal of the original concrete façade, and extended the footprint of the building to form bioclimatic balconies. Once-constrained living rooms now extend into new terraces as flexible space, featuring large windows for unrestricted views of the city.  This improved the aesthetic of social housing, and also social fabric of the building and its links to the surrounding urban environment.

A similar approach has been applied to other buildings notably 530 apartments in Bordeaux.

Lacaton and Vassal have a reverence for pre-existing structures, conceiving projects by first taking inventory of what already exists. By prioritizing the enrichment of human life, they aim to benefit the individual socially, ecologically and economically, and aid the evolution of a city.

Two opportunities for London to have Lacaton & Vassal projects passed as they were unsuccessful in competitions for the new Museum of London and Royal College of Art buildings, for which they were shortlisted.

Further details of the Citation for the Pritzker Award, and an article from The Guardian.

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