Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal Pritzker Architecture Prize-winners

The French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, have been laureates of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. The architects are known for their positive attitude to rehabilitation, describing demolition as an “act of violence”. One of the most recognised projects from Lacaton-Vassal is the rehabilitation of three 1960s housing blocks in Grand Parc of Bordeaux, which also won the Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.

Demolition was ruled out so the studios instead designed subtle interventions to make the homes brighter, with more outdoor space at every level. The renovation of the 530 dwellings involved the addition of 3.8-metre-deep winter gardens and open-air balconies to each apartment. Large glass sliding doors opening on to the winter gardens replaced small windows, to maximise usable space while ensuring optimal thermal comfort for occupants. As to cause minimum disruption to residents, who remained in their homes during the work, these extensions were made using prefabricated modules and each apartment took between just 12 and 16 days to renovate. Precast slabs and columns were hoisted into place by cranes to form a freestanding structure. The new facades were covered in lightweight corrugated polycarbonate panels and windows in aluminium frames. New elevators were also put into the three blocks and the access halls were renovated.

Author: Xavier Casanovas (RehabiMed)