Lightness and simplicity

With the use of winter gardens and balconies, the architects economically expand living space, conserving energy and bringing the outdoors in. “Our job is to solve constraints and problems and find spaces that can create uses, emotions, and feelings” explains Jean-Philippe Vassal. “At the end of this process and all of these efforts, there must be lightness and simplicity, when everything that came before was so complex." (Pritzker press release)

Discover how Lacatan and Vassal, along with Frédéric Druot, brought this breathability to the constrained space of the Bois-le-Prêtre Tower through renovation in our case study.

Winners of 2021 Pritzker Prize blend sustainability with space

On 16 March, French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal became the newest laureates of the prestigious Pritzker Prize - the highest distinction in the world of architecture. Known for their private and social housing, public space, and institutional building design, Lacaton and Vassal meld sustainability with respect for pre-existing structures.

Sustainable designs that favour expanding space

Lacaton and Vassal, from the eponymous agency they founded in 1987, are known for their architecture that infuses humanism with sustainable and affordable designs that favour the expansion of space. They also received the Sustainable Architecture Prize in 2018. Their most notable works include: 14 houses for the Cité Manifeste in Mulhouse (2005), the Bordeaux University Management Sciences Centre (2008), the rehabilitation of the Bois-le-Prêtre Tower in Paris with ArcelorMittal metallic coated steel (2010), the transformation of 530 housing units - buildings G, H, I - in the Grand Parc district of Bordeaux (2017; with Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin), and a residential and office building in Chêne-Bourg, Switzerland (2020).

Their work is grounded in an intention to respond to ecological and social imperativeness, especially in the sphere of urban housing. “They accomplish this through a powerful sense of space and materials that creates architecture as strong in its forms as in its convictions, as transparent in its aesthetic as in its ethics.” (Pritzker press release)


Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal photo courtesy of Laurent Chalet