Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been awarded the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious architectural award recognizing the work of living architects who are able to demonstrate, through their works, a set of qualities for the community, society and the built environment..
From the very beginning the French architects have addressed issues that are part of the contemporary architectural debate through their work: reusing the existing, improving the housing conditions, defining ecological architecture, working with small and accessible budgets. For starters their research focuses on people, on the ability of architecture to synthesize the social, cultural and political values of complex contemporary cities.
Alejandro Aravena, Chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury commented: “Lacaton and Vassal are radical in their delicacy and bold through their subtleness, balancing a respectful yet straightforward approach to the built environment.”
From the smallest residential works to the largest public buildings, they used an experimental yet accurate approach, always trying to bring out the human needs. For istance, in the project for Latapie House, in 1993, the relationship with the existing building becomes an opportunity to define an architecture of assemblages, while in Cap Ferret House in 1998 the same relationship establishes new balances with the landscape, balances which play the leading role in the domestic interiors.
From the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, a large public container which opens up new reflections on the deserted industrial buildings as potential centers for the urban regeneration, to the residential buildings – the logements in Brussels, the new residential and office complex at Chêne-Bourg – their works underline how architecture is still necessary to define those spatial fragments between interior and exterior space, public and private space, old and new buildings: essential passages for new living spaces.