Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, congratulates French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, winners of the 2021 Pritzker Prize. Awarded since 1979 by an independent jury, this award is often considered the «Nobel of architecture».

Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, congratulates French architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, winners of the 2021 Pritzker Prize. Awarded since 1979 by an independent jury, this award is often considered the «Nobel of architecture».

This is the third time that this prestigious prize has been awarded to French architects, after Christian de Portzamparc in 1994 and Jean Nouvel in 2008.

Trained at the National School of Architecture in Bordeaux, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal are engaged in an architectural movement centered on the quality of housing and the comfort of the inhabitant.   They were noticed in 1991, with the albums of young architects. They were responsible for a new design of living spaces, more open, more spacious and accessible to all, already present in one of their first significant achievements, the Latapie house in Floirac en Gironde (1993).

They are precursors of a sober and economical architecture placing at the heart of their approach the protection of the environment, which they have always thought in an inseparable link with the well-being of the inhabitants. Their social housing project in the city of Grand Parc in Bordeaux, awarded with the 2019 Mies van der Rohe prize, is exemplary in this regard.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal developed an important rehabilitation activity very early on. They focused on reviving apartment buildings whose characteristics no longer correspond to current practices and standards. The remarkable rehabilitation of the Bois-le-Prêtre tower in Paris (2009), which earned them the Equerre d'Argent in 2011, testifies to this approach. This operation, carried out on an occupied site, has also enabled Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal to closely involve users in this important transformation project.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal also intervened on cultural or university buildings, and are at the origin of the contemporary creation site in the Palais de Tokyo (2001), the café of the Architektur Zentrum in Vienna (2001), from the National School of Architecture of Nantes (2009) or from the FRAC du Nord-Pas-de-Calais in Dunkerque.

This international recognition crowns the work of two profoundly generous architects, convinced of the eminent social role that their discipline is called to play. It is also a new proof of the excellence and dynamism of French architecture, which has been able to reinvent itself to face the human and ecological challenges of the XXIe century.