Anne Lacaton (*1955)
Jean-Philippe Vassal (*1954)



Openly proclaiming to be a reflection about and a search for architectural economy, the work undertaken by Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philipppe Vassal focuses on reduced-cost constructions in order to rejuvenate the dialogue with contracting authorities. Research on hybridisations, between a contemporary building concept and the use of the most diversified techniques, produces projects that make the most of construction programmes by upsetting building contractors' standard usages. The Latapie House, integrated within a housing-development context, thus offers its occupants increased space, greater modularity, and the open flexibility to incorporate later transformations. This is an Architecture of assemblies, composed of materials which enhance simple aesthetics and offer an immediate integrational capacity where the temporary vies with the monumental.
  lakaton & vassal archilab        
It'll be nice tomorrow* - The beauty of the obvious

The civil engineering structure just before technical prowess, in the sense of engineers making it (machines, factories).
There are not a thousand and one solutions. There are just one or two answers, and one of them will surely be the better one.
No architecture.
One solves a problem of installation, incorporation and programme mathematically, as one does a technical, economic or social problem.
This is enough, where relevant. It is already a lot.
Self-construction: sheds, huts, factories, suburban shopping malls: a box, a sign.
Which is right, which is clearly named: readability.
It is up to (phoney) images of speed: aircraft wings and horizontal cladding, and up to buildings ready to take off, to make direct suggestions about the destination, beaches and coconut trees...
Not pretending.
Too much comfort.
We do not have extraordinary architectures because of a bit too much--middle-class--comfort.
New ways of living in, and living.
The House: inventing something else, getting rid of foundations, mobility, nomadism.
The box, the parallelepiped: what else is there to do?
The Farnsworth House, and then?
Dealing with transparency, filters, open buildings that are permeable to the climate.
Inventing machine-houses, flower-houses.
There is neither obviousness nor reference.
Every time a new problem crops up, a concertinaing of restrictions, requirements, expectations.
Raising good questions and making rigorous replies to them, one after the other.
Always raising the issue of the necessary, the sufficient; what is important, and what isn't.
Avoiding accumulations, looking for simplicity and readability. Monitoring every slightly complicated detail like the consequence of an error of reflection.
Shedding the idea of form other than architectonic or stemming from the context.
Constructing from the interior.
The precision of the installation.
The perfect resolution of the functioning.
Use: shifts, sensations, inner perception, appropriation.
Sense: the evocation of a building; its contents, its life, its period.
Cost: cost-cutting, the right means, as inexpensive as possible to build more.
The rigour of the plans.
A certain passion for organizing, setting, calculating, compressing, pricing, starting all over again, reading and re-reading the programme, economizing, simplifying.
And then,
that magic moment when the images come back, when the two directions of thought are perfectly attuned, interlock, fuel one another, as if spellbound.
Moment of euphoria and ease, as if miraculously and unconsciously the joyous, living part that gives the project its meaning had steered the laborious part to do with development.
Born who knows where, experienced somewhere, far away, in Africa or elsewhere, in books of poetry and films, in smoke-filled bars, train compartments, airport concourses, an image, a persistent idea, that one waits for, that one delicately gathers up, that one protects, safeguards, forgets and finds again.
It stays there throughout the project and ends up being absolutely indispensable.
Architecture will be straightforward, useful, precise, cheap, free, jovial, poetic and cosmopolitan. It'll be nice tomorrow.

Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal--------------
* Taken from the catalogue published for the exhibition It'll Be Nice Tomorrow [Il fera beau demain], held at the Institut Français d'Architecture in Paris.

University, Department of Arts and Human Science - Grenoble, France - 2nd phase (in progress)--1st phase (1995)

The project is part of the " University 2000 " plan and is located in an alignment of new buildings which heighten the campus's axis of development. It gives on to its surroundings—the campus and the presence of soaring mountains. The project is set on the four boundaries of the terrain, a rectangle of 60 x 45 metres, and consists of two floors—ground level and partial mezzanine. It is built in two balanced phases, the final aspect of which, resulting from the continuity of the greenhouses on the main façades, is that of a single building. These greenhouses, like slender transparent blades to north and south, create a filter of plants. They provide an innovative image, at once changing and poetic, matching the building's purpose and the artistic dimension of the classes held in it. The look of the building resides in the reality and transparency of its everydayness, made up of the lives of its occupants. The interior quality has more to do with the space, atmosphere, light arrangements, and comfort. The structure's sober nature exists in tandem with an unexpected feature of the project, which creates both its image and its poetry : the greenhouses with their flowers.

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Maison Latapie - Floirac, France - 1993

This house is economical. Situated in the inner suburbs of Bordeaux, it was a commission for a family homeÊ- a couple and their two children, with a small budget. It fits into the contour of the street. It is a simple volume on a square base. The structure is metal. One half, on the street side, is covered with an opaque skin, with fibrocement cladding, and the other half, the greenhouse, with a transparent skin, and PVC cladding, on the garden side. A wooden volume behind the opaque cladding delimits an isolated winter area. It opens onto a greenhouse and the outside world, on the street side. This volume has two free levels, designed to suit the family's lifestyle : living-room and garage on the ground floor, bedrooms on the upper floor. The technical rooms - kitchen, bathroom, WC, closets - are all included in a central volume. The greenhouse is east-facing and picks up the first rays of the sun. This is one of the home's living areas. The east and west façades are very moveable, with opening and folding doors. The house can thus switch from being very enclosed to very open, depending on the family's requirements and their desire for light, privacy, protection and ventilation. The home's living area can vary from season to season, from smallÊ- living-room and bedroomsÊ- to large, encompassing the whole garden at the height of summer.

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Maison individuelle - Lège Cap-Ferret, France, 1998

The land, with its well-developed vegetation, is located at Grand Piquey on the Bassin d'Arcachon, on one of the last plots that has not yet been built on in this area. Its topography is undulating, with sandy ground. Bearing the particular qualities of the site in mind, the architectural and landscaping aim has been to retain its features topography and vegetation alike. The house is on a single level, on piles, based on a broad layout that reduces the impact and cost of the foundations. The delicate structure is made of galvanized steel. The façade, overlooking the Bassin, is all glass, and the three other sides are aluminium walls, punctuated by windows. The platform is a concrete slab and its under-surface is made of aluminium sheets identical to those of the sides. The roof is a roof terrace. The overall form of the volume, with its lightness and transparency, means that the building interferes little with the landscape. The low vegetation is retained beneath the platform, including the pines growing within the confines of the construction. These pass through the house in special enclosed areas. By the beach, the traditional stone facing has been redone.

  lacaton & vassal image    
  lacaton & vassal image    
Anne LACATON (1955)
1980 - Diplômée de l'Ecole d'Architecture de Bordeaux.
1984 - DESS d'urbanisme à l'Université de Bordeaux.
Jean Philippe VASSAL (1954)
1980 - Diplômé de l'Ecole d'Architecture de Bordeaux .
1980 / 1985 - Architecte-urbaniste en Afrique de l'Ouest (Niger).

1987 - Fondation de l'agence à Bordeaux.
1991 - Lauréats des Albums de la Jeune Architecture.
1996 - Nomination pour l'Equerre d'Argent du Moniteur 1996
1997 - Sélection pour le Ve Prix Européen d'Architecture, Fondation Mies van der Rohe, Barcelone.

Enseignement :
1999 / 1994 - A. Lacaton : enseignante invitée à l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.
1999 / 1992 - J.P. Vassal : enseignant vacataire à l'Ecole d'Architecture de Bordeaux.
1999 / 1994 - J.P. Vassal : enseignant invité à l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.
Principaux projets et réalisations :
1998 - Université de Grenoble, France. Dépt. Arts & Sciences humaines. Réal. 2e tranche (en cours) ; Immeuble d'habitations collectives, Bordeaux, 20 logts (en cours) ; Maison Dartois, Cap Ferret (réalisée) ; Institut Universitaire / Journalisme et communication, Bordeaux (concours).
1997 - Université de Grenoble, restructuration Dépt. Economie et Gestion ; Lycée français de Francfort (conc.) ; Centre culturel Franco-Namibien, Windhoek, Namibie (conc.) ;
1996 - Aménagement de la Place du Vieux Lavoir, Sainte Eanne (réalisé) ; Aménagement de la Place Léon Aucoc, Bordeaux (réal.) ; Auberge de jeunesse, Biarritz (conc.).
1995 - Aménagement du Musée archéologique de Saintes (réalisé) ; Lycée Ste Foy la Grande (conc.).
1993 - Maison Latapie, Floirac (réalisée) ; Centre de Jour, Bègles (réalisé).
1992 - Prototype de maison économique (projet).
1990 - Maison de la culture du Japon (Concours intern. Mention honorable).
Expositions récentes :
1999 / 1998 - " Premises ", Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York.
1998 - Galerie Taisei, Tokyo ; Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich.
1997 - Architektur Zentrum,Vienne ; Le Magasin, CNAC Grenoble ; Arc en Rêve, Bordeaux ; IFA,Paris.
Conférences récentes :
1998 - Architektur zentrum wien, 6° Congrès d'architecture de Vienne ; Columbia University, N-Y.C. ; Galerie Taisei, Tokyo, dans le cadre de l'Année de la France au Japon ; Ecoles d'architecture de Rome, Reggio Calabre, Barcelone.
Bibliographie sélective de Lacaton & Vassal
1998 - " Premises : invested spaces in visual arts & architecture from France, 1958-1998 " Catalogue, Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York, en coll. avec le MNAM - C.G.Pompidou.
De architect (nov.) ; Casabella (n° 660) ; Werk, Bauen + Wohnen (mai) ; Domus (n° 803) ; D'Architectures (n° 80) ; AIT (n° 1/2) ; Arquitectura viva (n°72).
1997 - Domus (n°791) ; Faces (n° 42/43) ; Archit. intérieure CREE (n° 280) ; Technique & Arch. (n° 434) ;
Quaderns (n° 217) ; A + T (n° 10) ; Arquitectura viva (n° 65).
1996 - Dictionnaire de l'architecture du XXe siècle, édit. Hazan - IFA, Paris (page 500) ; Bauwelt (n° 16) ;
AMC-Moniteur (n° 76) ; Le Moniteur (n°4835) ; Abitare (n° 347).
1995 - " Il fera beau demain " catalogue d'expos. édit. IFA, Paris ; " Qu'as-tu voulu me dire " catalogue d'expos. édit. Arc en rêve, Bordeaux ; Archit. intérieure CREE (n° 268).
1994 - " Une maison particulière ", Hubert Tonka et Jeanne Marie Sens, Sens & Tonka édit., Paris ; Technique & Arch. (n° 416) ; D'Architectures (n° 51) ; Libération (14 nov.) ; Intramuros (n° 54).
1991 - " Album de la jeune architecture ", édit. Ministère de l'Equipement, Paris ;
" 40 architectes de moins de 40 ans ", catalogue d'exposition, IFA, édit. du Moniteur.
1994 - Habitant, film de Ph. Madec et Michel Le Bayon, coprod. Ministère de la Culture et ARTE.
(Maison Latapie à Floirac)