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Anne Lacaton, Jean-Philippe Vassal and Frédéric Druot: Samuel Ratensky Memorial Lecture


Tour Bois le Prêtre, Paris, France, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 7 - 9pm


This lecture is the 2021 annual Ratensky Lecture, organized by the AIANY Housing Committee to honor individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions to the advancement of housing and community design. The annual Ratensky Lecture was initiated by the AIANY Housing Committee in honor of Samuel Ratensky (1910-1972), an architect and NYC housing official who was responsible for major housing initiatives in the city from 1946 to 1972, and who served as a mentor to many architects who worked in his programs.

This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by The Architectural League of New York and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, and with the support of Villa Albertine, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States.

This year, the AIANY Housing Committee will honour 2021 Pritzker Prize laureates Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, as well as Frédéric Druot. The architects will discuss their transformative approach to social housing, which focuses on designing from within to maximize space and prioritise the needs of residents. This lecture is organized in partnership with the Architectural League of New York’s “Current Work” Series and with Cooper Union, and with the support of Villa Albertine, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States.

Architects Anne Lacaton, Jean Philippe Vassal and Frédéric Druot have collaborated on a number of design and research projects, redefining the possibilities of social housing, sustainability and community agency.  Their motto, “never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform, and reuse”, has guided them to creating:

  • Cité du Grand Parc, the 2017 transformation of three fully occupied modernist social housing buildings in Bordeaux, adding gardens and balconies to each unit.

  • Tour Bois le Prêtre, the 2010 renovation and extension of a 1960s social housing tower, designed in collaboration with current residents.

  • PLUS Paris, a 2004 study of 1,648 sites in Paris with the potential to add 135,000 new housing units without demolition or resident relocation.


About the Architects:

Anne Lacaton graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superiéure d’Architecture de Bordeaux in 1980 and received a diploma in urban planning from the University of Bordeaux in 1984. She is a professor of architecture and design at ETH Zurich and has taught at EPFL Lausanne, Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Delft University of Technology, Polytechnic University of Madrid, and University at Buffalo.

Jean Philippe Vassal graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superiéure d’Architecture de Bordeaux in 1980 and worked as an urban planner in Niger from 1980 to 1985. He is an associate professor at Universität der Künste Berlin and has taught at Technische Universität Berlin, Hochschule Düsseldorf, EPFL Lausanne, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, and École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bordeaux.

Frédéric Druot graduated in 1984 from the Ecole Nationale Superiéure d’Architecture de Bordeaux. In 1987, he founded the architectural agency Epinard Bleu, which received the Album de la Jeune Architecture in 1990. The next year, he founded his own firm, Frédéric Druot Architecture, in Paris.


The event can be live streamed here




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