Anne Lacaton: 'Never withdraw, always add'

 John Hill
22. August 2018
Transformation of Housing Block - Paris 17°, Tour Bois le Prêtre (Photo: Screenshot)
A new film from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art's Louisiana Channel features an interview with architect Anne Lacaton, one half of the award-winning Parisian firm Lacaton + Vassal.
Like other Louisiana Channel interviews, the lengthy talk with Lacaton (20 minutes) allows some depth on the architect's approach. As described by Louisiana Channel, "Lacaton describes the practice of Lacaton & Vassal as being about the generosity of space, care of the users, care of the climate, utilization of all the natural resources and creating affordable architecture. They never work in empty spaces but in established city landscapes and take into account all the existing elements, aiming to keep them in the project as maximum resources."

Lacaton says, "It starts from the great observation and inventory of what we have… some things need to be transformed, and some things need to stay as they are, and this combination makes the project so interesting." At one extreme is Place Léon Aucoc (1996) in Bordeaux, a public space that Lacaton & Vassal basically left untouched, only making minor modifications. Their best-known project, Transformation of Housing Block - Paris 17°, Tour Bois le Prêtre (with Frédéric Druot), wraps new terraces and balconies around a 1960s housing block to generously enlarge the existing living spaces.

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