There is no better way to design the future than to design it ourselves. Architecture, design, landscape are soft powers. Each of these projects are levers : to modify our experience of reality, bring in more fantasy, quality and strong emotions.
There is no better way to design the future than to design it ourselves. Architecture, design, landscape are soft powers. Each of these projects are levers : to modify our experience of reality, bring in more fantasy, quality and strong emotions.
Loci anima is an architecture, design and urban planning studio founded by Françoise Raynaud in 2005. Located in Paris, winners of international competitions, loci anima develops a singular & spiritual work, based on holistic convictions, and the constant quest for unity among both people and genres. loci anima’s achievements create ties between human beings and their environment, constructing them, and planting them in buildings conceived as living beings. For example, the Pont d’Issy urban quarter, or the Manhattan residential tower, showcase nature and outdoor spaces. The Les Fauvettes cinema developed for Jérôme Seydoux in Paris, the Alpha media library in Angoulême, the A4-Est macro-lot in Boulogne-Billancourt, and many other projects. With its offices high in the sky above Place de Clichy, the studio has 20 architects and recently opened an office in NYC. For loci anima, we imagined, produced and developped a new website that focuses on the office’s messages – adapt, absorb, dialog – like invariants that go through a rich and original production. Like its founder. We love you Françoise.
Concept & production : AHA – Webdesign : Spassky Fischer
Created by 3F, a social landlord involved in the revitalization of town centers and by MDNH architects, the 80 intergenerational housing units of the small town Cesson are a response to the urban sprawl that has devoured the countryside and paradoxically has emptied it. The complex succeeds in combining neo-rural typology with contemporary demands of density, diversity and open community.
Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville is a public library designed by OMA for the metropolitan region Caen la Mer in Normandy, France. The 12,000 m2 multimedia library is located at the tip of the peninsula that extends out from the city of Caen to the English Channel. The building’s cross-shaped design responds to the urban context, with each of the four protruding planes of the cross pointing to a landmark point in Caen: to the historical sites of the Abbaye-aux-Dames in the north and the Abbaye-aux-Hommes in the west, to the central train station in the south, and to the area of new construction in the east. At the same time, the geometry of two intersecting axes is informed by the library’s programmatic logic. The four planes, each housing a pedagogic discipline — human sciences, science and technology, literature, and the arts — meet in a large reading room on the first floor, to encourage maximum flow between the departments. This main library space is carved out of the center of the solid cross, defining the building’s design as an opposition between mass and void. As a civic center where people meet and share knowledge and information, public space is at the core of the library’s design. At the entrance level on the ground floor, there is a large open space with a press kiosk and access points to an auditorium with 150 seats, an exhibition space and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace on the waterfront.
The EDF learning center is located at the Saclay plateau in southern Paris. It is intended to welcome some of the 160,000 employees of the electricity generating utility for a stay of one to five days as part of their continuing in house on the job learning. This retreat on the Saclay plateau, sometimes far from an employee’s usual place of work, is an opportunity for staff to learn and train, but also to meet, exchange and re-energize themselves in order to consolidate a common culture. On top of the spaces reserved for learning courses there are reception areas, social life gathering spaces, relaxing lounges and even bedrooms: a variety of programs that together contribute to the exceptional chronotopy of an atypical 24 hours per day operation. The idea of an American style campus is reinterpreted here vertically in this unitary building that is bringing people together in multi-functional spaces which is highly ambitious in terms of getting people to mix with others with dense, proven corollary.
Enter the world of J.M. Weston and get swept up in the magic of the Gaumont Ambassade. loci anima, the designer of this pop-up store unlike any other, brings two French houses together. This unique shopping experience reveals the ties between the values held by J.M. Weston and a certain idea of cinema championed by Gaumont, in a staging that combines movement and freeze frames, amboyance and restraint, that is ephemeral yet designed to last… and take the customer a long way, like Weston footwear. A H A is very happy to participate in this unparalleled adventure as an editorial and artistic consultant.
Let’s Talk about collective housing with Sophie Delhay : “Creating the conditions for living in dense numbers has become a necessity for participating in sustainable development in cities and preserving our regions. Living in shared housing is not a constraint but an opportunity where individual aspirations can blossom and be strengthened through sharing”. The new portfolio of Sophie Delhay designed by A H A with Hic et Nunc, is a double sided customized tool to discover the work and reserch of the architect.
At the completion of the exceptional work orchestrated by Atelier COS, the Ritz has fully emerged into the 21rst century. Its metamorphosis has produced a unique garden, a new gallery, a sublimated Vendôme terrace with its sliding canopy, reconfigured salons, an entirely redeveloped room mix, an all new pool and spa. Furthermore, the transformation also plays out behind hidden doors, with an optimised back office and a tunnel under the place Vendôme. A H A is pleased to announce its collaboration with the architects of the Hotel Ritz Paris, Atelier COS.
For two decades, Bordeaux has been an urban laboratory and is becoming a major European metropolis. The city has been redeveloping each district in turn, implementing innovative projects on each side of the Garonne River. As its constructions gradually emerge, the Bassin à flot project has become one of the emblems of this project of redevelopment. The city and the Métropole of Bordeaux have proved that it is perfectly feasible to adopt an entirely different approach to urban planning, by focusing on collective intelligence and working methods that provide an alternative to standard schemas : the Atelier des Bassin à flot, which was suggested and set up by the architect and urban planner Nicolas Michelin (ANMA) ; has embodied this new approach. This unique mechanism is entirely dedicated to the collaborative construction of a district that reconciles territorial identity with urban and architectural quality. This book retraces the story of one of the most experimental urban planning projects in France and explains how and why urban planning can and should be implemented via a process of negotiation.
Concept and production : A H A
Authors : Hugo Christy, ANMA avec l’Atelier des Bassins
Publisher : Dominique Carré éditeur
Organized by Ataraxia Promotion, this conference cycle highlights four urban project developments in the West of France. For each of them, the workshop and negotiation dimension prevails over a « top-down » reasoning. In Nantes, in Rennes or in Bordeaux, the context and the political climate encourage to be innovative. Could this be the sign of a flourishing local development and an open-minded and collaborative human environment, the famous “west-coast attitude”? Without anticipating the analyzes to be made, it must be noted that the context invites to seek new “ways of doing” that adapt or anticipate socio-economic developments as the return of urban renewal projects, the revitalization of metropolitan centers, the transformation of industrial sites, the reduction local authorities resources and the inexorable installation of environmental issues. It is in this context that emerge urban projects negotiated between real estate professionals on one side and local authorities and urban planners and architects on the other. From La Courrouze and Baud-Chardonnet in Renne to l’Île de Nantes and the Marsauderies in Nantes, each project innovates in a different way in the « making of the city ». West is the best ?
Access to land in « tense » zones is the first brake to housing production. One social landlord does not necessarily have the means or the tools to intervene on large complex properties which could accommodate diverse programming. New form of cooperation between social landlords, Initiatives Foncières is an economic interest group aim to act ahead construction, on inaccessible land. Initiatives Foncières manages pre-operationnal studies and presages project companies opened to social housing landlords and local firms. These project companies will collect investissments to acquire and develop land, and will sometimes build social housing. Initiatives Foncières entrusted to A H A its visual identity and communication. We are delighted to support the foreshadowing and the development of this smart and engaged project.
« This slice of the city may be made up of large isolated buildings, but it is far from being stuck, and is rather an urban architectural laboratory without precedent ,» so wrote the historian Henri Bresler in 2007 in a study commissioned into the warehouse district of Macdonald in Paris’ 19th arrondisment. Since then there has been a conversion project making the warehouse a bustling daily reality for the 3500 inhabitants, some 4000 workers and almost a 1000 college students, not to mention the 60,000 travelers who pass through the Rosa Parks regional metro and tramway hub. All this is the culmination of a nine-year process involving a string of owners and 15 teams of architects who brought to life the masterplan set in motion by OMA / Floris Alkemade. This transformation was hammered out through tight negotiations with public and private collaboration of a most dynamic nature. In 2016 the Caisse de dépôts, the Semavip and Icade decided to entrust A H A to oversee the creation of the presentation dossier and to organise a grand global tour for the press of the entire finished project. « The Macdonald project enriches Paris thanks to its stimulating diversity and the typological insights it provides, » Bresler said. Was this a winning bet ?
ANMA, AUC, Brenac et Gonzalez, Christian de Portzamparc, FAA+XDGA, Gigon/Guyer, Habiter autrement, Raphaëlle Hondelatte & Mathieu Laporte, Julien de Smedt, Kengo Kuma, François Leclercq / Marc Mimram, Stéphane Maupin, Studio Odile Decq.
The evolution of construction in France is alarming.
Whether it is at the scale of the city, the neighborhood or housing, the contradictions and absurdities between an ambitious initial project and a disappointing completion are undeniable. Through this general discontentment and a worrying situation in France, the Manifeste A proposes a new deal, a innovative way of building the city at different scales : at city scale, building scale and dwelling scale. Initiated by Nicolas Michelin, architect and urban planner founder of ANMA office, this manifest is addressed to elected representatives, local authorities, developers, social housing landlords, architects and project managers.
Be part of the Manifeste A, and sign it.
Launching at the manne.
Thursday, March 31th.
Loci Anima’s Francoise Raynaud is that rare bird who seems able to develop an holistic architectural approach, where the buildings created are born with a living biorythmic roll, whose refuges and shelters swing with the arc of the sun’s trajectory across the seasons and are renewed across the generations. For lemacro-lot B4 Boulogne, of which she is she is both the architect and urban planning coordinator, she has opened a landscape around a school doted with a rooftop garden. Here offices and housing converge towards a horizon inhabited not only by by teeming students, families and workers but where the bees, birds of prey and various plants are also offered shelter. At the heart of this macrocosm an office block for Deutsche Bank and Vinci Immobilier provides for a new and contemporary way of working, whilst also giving the neighbourhood a rippling and iridescent silhouette of ever changing hues of blue or orange-pink etc. Another of her most recent projects is of an entirely different nature and was carried out for Jérôme Seydoux in the heart of the Gobelins cinema district. But here to there is an element of the ever visible because of the astonishing view it offers to both passers by and clientèle alike. The Tokyoesque neon facades were developed with the artist Miguel Chevalier and is set off by a depth charged digito-wooden structure, offering a richer shade to light effect and mirroring, with the contrasting play of the exterior screens, the function of the venue itself. ‘Les Fauvettes’ renews codes, becomes a place of social exchange forged by magic images and the strength of innovative programming dedicated to the array of masterpieces that have been restored and digitised. In its research to transform the experience of places has also led Loci Anima to conceive of a multifaceted Mediatech for Grand Angouleme, knitted around the interplay of five worlds: Build, Create, Imagine, Understand and one world to another. Driven by cross-disciplinary techniques and practices in the age of the all-digital, Alpha embodies the new generation of media to establish an unprecedented space. With three spectacular projects on the go in 2015 Loci Anima turned to AHA to orchestrate and clarify their visibility in an original way. The whole set up is supported on the foundations of truly atypical creations, by a team of surprisingly diverse profiles who are united by a common passion which is well off the beaten patch and a hundred miles from conformity … But we will say no more for now.
A decade after riots and civil unrest in across the breadth of France’s run down city suburbs La Manne is running an exhibition featuring 25 of the areas that were part of a massive urban regeneration project launched across a vast swathe of these neighborhoods, known in France as ANRU or cites (precincts). The exhibition features a 100 gritty photos of neighborhoods from across France, from Grande-Synthe in the North to Perpignan in the deep south-west and showcases a cross section of the new towns and formerly deprived areas regenerated over the past ten years as part of the National urban regeneration program. The studies were all taken by Belgian photographer Julien Lanoo and are a selection of a larger collection in the beautifully crafted and frankly presented treaties come casebook “3F introduces 25 regenerated areas” published by editions A H A. The book is a situational study presenting the areas from the point of view of a passerby having a look around, the fruit of a project aiming to debunk any preconceptions about slums. The adventure was innitiated and developped with the backing of the 3f Housing group. These singular urban residencies are sensorially presented within the context of the territories concerned and their particular histories and geographies. The opening was feted with a heartfelt and in-depth debate which cast light into the darker corners of the subject thanks to the lively contribution from 3F General Director Yves Laffoucrière, Thierry Lajoie the CEO of the Grand Paris Aménagement and the celebrated architect and town planner Nicolas Michelin.
Architecture and urban planning are soft powers. Éditions A H A have emerged to produce, document and share initiatives which are both unlimited and non-exclusive in the thinking and the design of cities, landscapes and their inhabitants. They commit to a reflection, back up a vision and propose alternatives to the boring city, but also to boring publishing. 3f présente : 25 quartiers renouvelés (literally : 3f presents : 25 renewed neighbourhoods) is the first publication by Éditions A H A. Between a fotonovela and a photographic and acoustic road-trip, this book refreshes the common perceptions of the well-known ANRU neighbourhoods in France that tended to be mainly stereotyped and ostracized until recently, as the French equivalent of ghettos.
Having spent the year focussed on Greek tragedy with a sense of “terror and pity”, we decided to organize a summer course in Athens. In that way we met a series of emerging actors, architects, journalists, publishers and media agencies on the Athenian scene. This seminar wasn’t initiated with a clearly defined project but we felt sure we’d find similarities between the architectural and urban realities of France and Greece. Both nations are creaking under the pressure created by the increasing scarcity of public purchasing power. And both are dealing with the necessity of inventing new working methods, or even more radically, to reinvent themselves fully. Whether the crisis is an ongoing process or merely a starting point, we suggest that the French and the Greeks have many similar experiences, and have much to share on lessons learned.
Analogies between Paris and Athens are obvious; there’s the decline of both public spaces and public transport for one, then there’s the latent urban vitrification, the tricky cohabitation between housing, urban activities and entertainment, and the outdated mega projects weighing on both the moral conscience and the budget. There were even in both cases the very large scale international competitions launched to shape the future of these cities, as illustrated by the 23 sites of “ReinventerParis” and “Re-think Athens”, that was unfortunately aborted in December 2014 with the withdrawal of European funds.
Our first reflex as specialised consultants is to encourage this architectural scene to federate itself, even informally, because ignorance of their current or mutual problems and a scarcity of opportunities to meet struck us. Accustomed to distrusting governments and political parties, these players seem to forget that their work is part of what we call “a vision for the community and public service.” The first step would be to share their experiences and then jointly develop the beginnings of a manifesto or recommendations they could address to the public authorities. By addressing french and greek institutions and foundations that play a key role today in Greece, such as the mayor of Athens or more strategically, his successor. The time has come to gather local energies collectivly, especially since the desire to work on Athens is strong. Indeed, under the influence of its artistic director Adam Szymczyk, the next five-yearly Kassel event Documenta will be held for the first time of its history both in Kassel and in Athens. The roadmap for this dual exhibition has been entitled Documenta 14: Learning From Athens. Meanwhile, the brand new National Museum of Contemporary Art  that was delivered in August in Athens will not open, since there was no mone to run the museum. Meanwhile, at the Benaki Museum, the exhibition “Ametria” , displayed by the Foundation DESTE, intends to explore the radicality and the immoderation in action. To do so, the first rooms of the exhibition are dedicated to the early urban plans of Athens dating back to the end of the XIXth century, to then focus and question artistic proposals. Here again, we notice less the obvious interdisciplinarity of practices between art, architecture and urbanism, than the proof of a flourishing context.
And so our project emerges. We wish to federate French and greek institutions, investors, foundations, universities, architects, journalists and critics around a new project “Learning from Athens – A Report” that will be launched during the Venice Biennale 2016 in line with the concrete actions wanted by its exhibition manager Alejandro Aravena. An adept of radical solutions and brave incursions into extreme environments . In 2016 we coverage our energies and observations on Athens. In 2016 it is towards Athens that our attention must converge; in 2017 it is in Athens that we need to be.
 Pier Vittorio Aureli, Maria S. Giudici, Platon Issaias, From Dom-ino to Polykatoikia, Domus 962 / October 2012.  Alexandre LABASSE. Surrealist Odyssey. L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, n° 390.  Serpantina, Holon Design Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2015.  Olive oil factory, Pylos, Dimitris Thomopoulos architect, 2015.  8 Projects for Athens, Point Supreme architects, 13th International Architecture Biennale Venice, 2012.  National Museum of Contemporary Art, Stylianidis architects, livraison 2014. Exposition Ametria au Musée Benaki, Pireos St, 12 juin – 11 octobre.  Alejandro Aravena was one of the hundred architects invited by ORDOS to take part in a project lead by Ai Weiwei in Inner Mongolia. He belonged as well to the eight teams invited to work on the pilgrimage route of the Ruta del Pelegrino.
HHF is a Swiss studio settled in Basel and founded by Simon Hartmann, Tilo Herlach and Simon Frommenwiler. The studio favours the notion of architectural contribution to the trivial understanding of authorship as a visual recognition feature. While fighting the temptation to actively pursue a formal common thread, the studio works at the crossroads of architecture, design and installations, regularly on the public space. Each project is regarded as a lever to reach implicit objectives, but also as an unfinished venture open to someone else’s project. In other words, their designs are thought as an additional link in the chain, at the opposite of a sanctified architectural signature. In this spirit, the studio opens discussions with other international actors. It has cooperated with Ai Weiwei on the 2004 project « Jinhua Architecture Parke » and on the 2008 project « Ordos » in Inner Mongolia. Afterwards, the studio has left with eight other studios on the Ruta del Peregrino in order to design a lookout point. This lookout has joined the Centre Pompidou collection since 2011. It is currently presented in the third part of the exhibition « Une histoire, art, architecture et design, des années 80 à aujourd’hui » (literally: « A history, art, architecture and design, from the eighties until now ») which is going to start on the 16th of September at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
The studio is expanding in Switzerland, in New York and in Berlin. In France, it is the recipient of two projects developed in cooperation with AWP: the masterplan La Défense 2020 and the Follies in the Park in Carrières-sous-Poissy in the Paris Region which will be delivered in autumn. The studio has entrusted A H A with its strategy in France.
Our aim is to open up the field of representation of these neighborhoods by offering a long traveling shot, with views to great scenery as frames on details, signs, attention. None of these images has in itself symbolic value, because reality is complex. It’s their reality overlay that arises from each of these parts of the city. The sound that accompanies this photographic traveling was collected during the shooting. It broadens the field of perception revealing another dimension of the reality of these neighborhoods. Leaving aside the usual acronyms and jargon, texts accompanying these photographs are both knowledgeable and sensitive. They can be read in isolation, as so many legends attributed to images, or over the photographs, like a snapshot subtitles. Renewal is not a new idea: it has motivated the construction of many of the neighborhoods that we denounced before we sometimes radically transformed them. If there is a renewal that now seems urgent to orchestrate, is that the way these neighborhoods that continue to be “new”. We bet that this work will participate, as he was involved in a human adventure to the authors, conducted with strict confidence 3F group.
Book to be released in June 2015. Editorial direction and texts : A H A – Artistic direction : WA75 – Sound design : Yves Bagot – Video : Corentin Perrichot.
Available in Bookstores September 2015.
Bartolo Villemard’s approach stems from a social humanist involvement which outlines possible contexts relative to modes, program and use. Notions of use, comfort and domesticity are in fact the foundation of a series of studies that guides the agency to deliver quality housing. In the vast neighbourhoods being redevelloped between Clichy and Batignolles at the northern borders of Paris and which lie along disused railway land, one of their stand out structures is a housing block featuring 200 “hanging gardens” (or exterior conservatories) which cover the height and breadth of the building’s exterior, lending a noteworthy aspect and neatly proportioned volume.
“The thing about Vorarlberg is the synergy between its two key components; an artist and an artisan. There is no sociological difference between us. We work as equals” says Much Untertrifaller. Looking at it from a French perspective, Vorarlberg looks in fact rather like an Eden. Dietrich Untertrifaller’s architecture is simple, refined and perfectly executed. The Austrian outfit has five various projects underway at various stages of progress. The first one to be delivered is the high school at Brooms, followed by an Exhibition centre and a concert venue in Strasbourg and a brand new arts college in Nantes. There is also a gym in Lyon and in Longvic on the way. Fresh in the pipeline is also the university sports campus Olympiapark in Munich, after winning an international tender for the project. The agency has entrusted its strategy in France to A H A.
The figure of the industrial hall, the long and aerial morphology of which explains its rational and intense use, is intimately linked with the Île de Nantes’ past. It inspired the form of the Nelson Mandela High School, the broad prow of which pays tribute to the district’s Atlantic horizon and reactivates the immemorial ties between boat builders and building builders. For a high school is a voyage from the shores of adolescence to adulthood, a 24/24 odyssee in an industrial vessel, occupied hour after hour by young people between 15 and 20. Lycée Nelson Mandela is a place for teaching, living and enjoyment. A place for learning in every sense of the word. A school from sophomore year to college prep classes. An apprenticeship in living together, then learning to live with differences through the mutual visibility afforded by its long atrium where all languages are taught to a diversified student body, some of whom live with physical or mental disabilities. Also learning the limits, for this place of life and residence is defined by the strict rules of a boarding school. Learning about effort through the regular application of examinations and the important place given to outdoor and indoor sports. Learning about space and the way through it, for the wealth of its program speaks to the clarity of its architecture and the calm strength of its long indoor street that encourages exchanges and circulation. This indoor street combines a full program and blends a community that comes together between classes and spreads to the upper floors according to students’ schedules. This constant spectacle is given rhythm by the sun at its zenith, the variations of the light that shines down through the glass roof and the operatic arias that echo throughout the day. Classrooms spoke out between courtyard and garden on either side of the nave in a double thickness; the rooms are served by a hallway. Some rooms give onto the isle and its urban landscape while others look out at the nave. This duality unifies the building as part of a «campus park» that combines a plaza for events, a sports ground, the «five senses garden» and an auditorium around the school’s main body.
The National University Library of Strasbourg is France’s second largest and has just undergone a complete refurbishment by the Architects Nicolas Michelin and Associates. Its original architecture reflected the Wilhelmine historicism of the late 19th century, with its symmetrical, squared organization. A prior refurbishment in the 1950s ended up overshadowing the strength of the original plan, but now this third project represents a homecoming. The original central plan is brought back into the light while the tenuous relationship between inside and outside is reactivated. But above all, the dome is released and highlighted by the central staircase, bathed as it is in an almost mystical light. This symbolic and structural element of the project revives a form of monumentalism which is however stripped of any of its original triumphalism. The National University Library of Strasbourg was nominated for the Equerre d’Argent Prize in the “Refurbishment” category.
“Sometimes you have to keep ideas for decades before they have any use in architecture.” This intriguing slogan always appears beside Ateliers O-S architects’ official name, drawing one in on what the big idea might be.
Attached to the needs and expectations of the users, O-S produces and architecture capable of provoking an emotional reaction and experience. The agency’s name itself is in direct reference to horizon expanding phenomenon Open Source and Operating System, which evoke the opening up to, and indeed production of, the ideas necessary to launch a project. At Saint-Germain-les-Arpajon, in the South of Grand Paris, O-S has just completed a mix building which aggregates the functions and spaces for a media library and a music and dance school.
Zeitgeist for breakfast
Naud & Poux, is a story that has beeen running for twenty years which starts afresh every day. The agency produces an architecture fully concious of its role, by turn pacifying, nurturing, well-meaning and protective. The Naud et Poux knowhow is something that starts with its finger on the pulsebeat, something destined to go way beyond any cost-cutting or short-termism. NX is a magazine filled with news, features, review, previews and all that is zeitgeist. Here’s hoping our first issue gives you plenty to mull….
Bienvenue au casino du Lac.
A new casino with accompanying resturant and bar seemed just the ticket when the Der region decided to strengthen its panapoly of tourist attractions. The architectural response however, would have to fit not only the events program but the environment and the landscape too. DATA agency came up with complex atypical solutions that meant the casino would stand the test of time and confidently cross the decades with no fear of going out of style. Well equiped and out of time. Le Casino du Lac has been conceived to be easily transformed over time thanks to sustainable, evolutionary concepts which mean any coming changes to its program or potential future uses will be easy to effect. Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!
A critical view of current practices – alternative housing, fresh uses of public space, novel town planning. Using the widely appreciated and prize winning projects that won broad popular support at the Archicontemporaine awards this roundtable tries to get to the bottom of the vectors of public enthusiasm for architecture. It brings together architects Jean Larnaudie, Eric Babin, Corrine Chiche, Sophie Delhay, Nicola Delon, Emeric Lambert and the urban chronicler Matthew Duperrex. It is organized by the Réseau des maisons de l’architecture.
Work conducted on national monuments such as Mont Saint-Michel, the Pantheon, the Arc de Triomphe and the Thoronet Abbey has made the reputation of Devaux Devaux & architects. And since its founding the agency has worked to develop culturally-based projects on remarkable sites. But for the Guignier nursery on a tiny plot in Paris’s 20th arrondisment, the challenge for the architects was to take an enclosed and constrained environmemt and in it house and protect and provide children with bright surroundings that favor relationships with the outside, the sky, the garden and the sun. More of a momorial, than patrimonial project.
When you step out of your car at Rubelles in the Paris suburbs it takes a moment to get your bearings such is the apparent haphazard town-planning. But on closer inspection we quickly glimpse the opportunities and potential.The place is a veritable collage: houses, offices, parking lots, roads, a hotel, advertising hoardings and fields off in the distance. The building concerned here is the head office of the French social security department that looks after foreign based citizens and it is a rejigged 80s affair in a typical suburban setting. So the big question is how to make the place nicer to live in. The open and unfinished nature of these sites and their changing geometry is the future of cities. The Bartelo-Villemard agency works with this particular state of things, trying to transcend it. The extension of the French Caisse des Alien is a workplace but also a home. It is unique in its comfort and intimacy, conceived for a community of people at peace with an environment.
There is no dogmatism in the approach of Nicolas Michelin and Associates (ANMA), each project is specific, made to measure for a place and for those who will use it. So over the 15 years in active operations the agency has enriched itself no end thanks by working in close contact with engaging partners of all kinds from visionary artists to demanding engineers. Their work positions itself in the contemporary debate on ways of building, on just economic principles, the management of resources, the third industrial revolution. His projects are accomplished with long term dynamic vision through ongoing dialogue and exchange of ideas. This first magazine showcases a selection of projects, which are as a diverse as the solutions used to realise them Here’s hoping this will enrich your vision on an agency on the move.
Twin central pillars
Winner’s of the ARVHA 2014 Young Women’s Architecht prize in 2014 Agnes Chryssostalis & Agnes Guillemin share more than just talent and the same name. Having both studied at the Paris-la-Seine architecture school they discoved that they made a good team, that they shared notions of sensibility and had complimentary qualities that forged a successful duo. With their “From the inside to the outside” concept, their flair for colour, and their way of complimenting archtecture with the right objects, they swiftly established a furniture and design unit at the heart of their agency. So as with the leaders of this project, there are twin central pillars, one dossier devoted to their architectural pursuits and the other to design and interior design projects.