French architects and educators Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been named as the winners of the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize.
By Matt Hickman
French architects and educators Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have been named the winners of the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The duo, principals of Lacaton & Vassal Architectes, are the 49th and 50th Pritzker Prize Laureates and the first French recipients of the prestigious award since 2008 when Jean Nouvel took home the architecture world’s top honor. In addition to Nouvel (and now Lacaton and Vassal), only one other French architect, Christian de Portzamparc, has won the Pritzker Prize since it was first awarded in 1979.
While Lacaton and Vassal are based in Paris, where they founded their eponymous practice in 1987, Lacaton is a native of Saint-Pardoux, in west-central France, while Vassal was born in Casablanca. The two first connected in the late 1970s while students at Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et de Paysage de Bordeaux (ENSNAP Bordeaux) before embarking on divergent, early career paths, with Lacaton earning her Masters in Urban Planning from Bordeaux Montaigne University in 1984 and Vassal relocating to Niger, West Africa, to practice urban planning. It was in Niger’s capital city of Niamey that Lacaton and Vassal came together to complete their first joint project, a straw hut built from locally sourced materials. While modest, this collaboration sparked a design ethos that continues today—one that champions affordable and readily available building materials and avoids destroying existing buildings in favor of adapting and adding to them.
“Transformation is the opportunity of doing more and better with what is already existing,” said Lacaton in a statement. “The demolishing is a decision of easiness and short term. It is a waste of many things—a waste of energy, a waste of material, and a waste of history. Moreover, it has a very negative social impact. For us, it is an act of violence.”
Read on >>>> Source: ArchPaper Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal win the 2021 Pritzker Prize