Congrats to Lacaton& Vassal, Frederic Druot and Christophe Hutin
I still remember the moment I first discovered Lacaton & Vassal’s work. I was flipping through a Spanish architecture magazine, when a photo of their first first project, Maison Latapie, made me gasp. Wow, I thought, this is a house? This can be architecture!? I was shocked, and fascinated. Never before I had seen anything like it: A volume totally enclosed in corrugated fiber cement panels, behind a squiggly filigreed-metal fence. The refusal of any formal expression, a cheap material from a DIY store. And then this ornamental fence, which had obviously been there before! Was this meant as a cynical statement?
It soon became clear that the photo, the fence, the project were anything but cynical or ironic. The house was radically honest, a bold claim for a new form of spatial luxury, showing an almost uncanny appreciation of the site, the budget, and the client’s needs.
I later had the opportunity to visit Lacaton & Vassal’s buildings, to write about their architecture, to publish their work with Ruby Press, to curate exhibitions on their projects, and to get to know Anne and Jean-Philippe personally, two incredibly nice and lovely persons, who consequently – sometimes even stubbornly – followed the direction they started 26 years ago with Maison Latapie.
The amazing transformation of 530 social housing units at the Grand Parc Bordeaux is the latest stopover on this journey, and I was very happy and deeply moved when Anne and Jean-Philippe, together with their long-time friends and collaborators Frederic Druot and Christophe Hutin received the EU Mies Award at the Barcelona Pavilion.
Finally! So well deserved!