Vectorworks counts among its community many winners of the Biennale Architettura award and several laureates of the prestigious Pritzker Prize. French firm Lacaton & Vassal — winners of the European Mies Van der Rohe prize in 2019 — won the Pritzker Prize in 2021 for their humanizing work in light of the global COVID-19 health crisis.
A Humanist Architecture for the Times
Lacaton & Vassal’s architecture is founded on the idea that advancing human welfare is a responsibility of an architect and should therefore be our foremost priority. This philosophy radiates through the architects’ work, especially amidst the global COVID-19 crisis.
The crisis exacerbates the problem of affordable housing for many. According to the jury, this international Pritzker Prize award underscores “the need to create a sense of community. With their work, Anna Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal show how architecture can contribute to this.”
The approach of the two French architects proposes a distinctly positive vision: to use and transform the existing, to do something better with it. “The beauty is that we always find a solution,” the architects said.
Starting from the observation that the modern city is not a tabula rasa, but an existing complex and confused environment, the architects’ position is to use what is already there. In doing so, they bring empathy to the legacy of modernism, which aimed to condense essential functions of a building into a core to free up space around it.For this non-essential space that’s increasingly constrained by new developments, the architects chose to preserve it and add space by extending the floor plates and enlarging the space with terraces. This is the case for the Bois-le Prêtre building in Paris and then for the Grand Parc district in Bordeaux.