The prestigious 2021 Pritzker Prize, nicknamed the Nobel for architecture, was awarded on Tuesday to the duo of French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, those who renovated the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and built the Frac de Dunkirk. A well-deserved prize for this formidable duo.
In Dunkirk, they had chosen not to meet demand exactly. Instead of filling a large boat building, the AP2, 75 m long, built in 1945, nicknamed by the inhabitants, the “cathedral” with the requested spaces, they built a second cathedral, transparent, with exactly identical templates, right next to the first. A stroke of genius (our photo).
Their method: spend less – less money, less materials, less CO2… – to produce the most – more space, more pleasure, more possibilities…
“Their work, which responds to the climatic and ecological emergencies of our time as much as to its social emergencies, in particular in the field of urban housing, gives new vigor to the modernist hopes and dreams of improving the lives of the greatest number” : it is with these words that the jury notably motivated its decision.
For the Palais de Tokyo, they fitted out the place leaving the raw areas of industrial wasteland but equipping it with everything needed for a modern museum. The same office arranged the huge basement. You enter like a cave, sometimes as big as a church, sometimes as intimate as a nook. A bare building with magnificent spaces that must be lived in.
Lacaton & Vassal left the aspect of a wasteland to save on a budget that was only 20 million euros, not much for such an area.