Anne Lacaton is a French architect. She runs the architectural practice Lacaton & Vassal, with Jean-Philippe Vassal. The pair were jointly awarded the 2021 Pritzker Prize. The two architects met at the Bordeaux School of Architecture. In 1979, Jean-Philippe Vassal, who had just graduated, left for West Africa, where he spent five years. He discovered the capacity of the inhabitants to build, whatever the situation, by recycling any element that could be useful.
They observe with interest the attitude of making things last, reusing, diverting, always with a pragmatic and inventive spirit. From this observation and the reflection it generated, will come the approach and the position of never destroying what can be reused. This thrifty and ecological approach, a reflection of the spirit of freedom encountered in Africa became the guiding principle of the two architects. They often use galvanized steel as a 100% reusable material in their projects.
Cap Ferret House
How does one preserve the dune and its vegetation, when building round and about without cutting down trees and even to build right on the ground? To avoid the felling of pine trees and the clearing of the low vegetation of the arbutuses, whose impact, seen from the Bay, is particularly perceptible? To raise the house above the ground in order to profit from the view?
To exclude the heavy earthworks which are particularly degrading for a ground surface of sand, twelve micro-piles are driven eight to ten meters deep. On top a galvanized steel frame, which creeps up between the trees, has been assembled. The facade on the Bay side is open and glazed; the three others are more closed and intersected with transparent bays. The height beneath the platform is variable, but always sufficient to permit one to pass under it. The pine trees are preserved, including those situated within the four walls of the building itself. These trees traverse the house in special holders adapted to their swaying, their growth and their maintenance in a good state of health.
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