Ladies and gentlemen elected,

Madam President of the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, dear Marie-Christine Labourdette,

Dear Alain Maugard, President of EUROPAN France,

Ladies and gentlemen,                                                                                                 

Dear friends,

 

When we talk about Europe, there is an expression that comes back remembering...

We are talking about “European construction”.

I want to believe it’s not entirely a coincidence.                                                

This is because there would be no Europe without its architects – the Founding Fathers.

But there would be no Europe, either, without the architects. Without the planners. Without the landscapers.

They built it. They shaped it. They built it.

They are the ones who designed the Europe of our everyday life, our cities and buildings, our buildings and neighbourhoods, our squares and our museums.

To define Europe, George Steiner evokes its cafés, its streets, its distances that run on foot, its landscapes that man has tamed.

To define Europe, he evokes its architecture.

 

For 30 years, EUROPAN has helped to prolong this history.

It’s 30 years of commitment we’re celebrating tonight.                                                  

Throughout Europe, this formidable competition brings together the skills of elected officials, local authorities, government departments, academic and professional communities, and young architects, urban planners and landscape designers.

Every two years, it promotes Europe-wide meetings, exchanges and dialogue between creators of different nationalities.  

Together, they meet around issues that transcend our borders: housing; the city; the quality and sustainable development of our living spaces.

Together, they enrich these issues in terms of social, environmental, economic and cultural expectations.

Together, they provide innovative responses. To improve the world. To build the society of tomorrow.

EUROPAN is more than a competition; it is an accelerator of ideas. It is a promise for the future.

The Ministry of Culture is proud to support him.

Because by supporting EUROPAN, it supports the professional integration of young architects, urban planners and landscape designers.

It is a real priority for my department.

I know the difficulties that young professionals may encounter in accessing public and private control.

I know that sometimes the door may seem closed.

By enhancing their work and giving them visibility, EUROPAN offers them a key.

This is not the only one: I am thinking for example of the Albums des Jeunes Architectes et Paysagistes; the Palmarès des Jeunes Urbanistes.

These opportunities to access the order, we must multiply them.

I hope that, in 2019, we will be able to host joint events here at CAPA to showcase young talent.

In this regard, CAPA has a role to play.

It must be the place to highlight all the professionals of the living environment; of all these artists, whose creations today constitute our heritage of tomorrow.

Supporting EUROPAN also means supporting projects that serve the territories. All territories.

This concern is near and dear to my heart. It runs through my actions.

Because it is in the territories that we can renew the course of an ambitious policy, for culture and creation.

This is where the future of architecture, urban planning and heritage comes into play.

Yet, too often, elected officials and space design professionals are opposed.

Too often, they are locked in a cliché of another age.

- The former would be short-term, ready to let private interests disfigure our country.

- The latter would be obstacles to running in circles, aesthetes disconnected from the realities of the field.

These clichés are not only unfounded, but also dangerous.

I know this well, as a former local elected official, as Minister of Culture – and therefore architects.

My ambition is to multiply the points of contact between these two worlds; to build a great alliance, throughout France, between local elected officials and professionals in the living environment.

Their dialogue is indispensable.

- Essential to revitalize medium-sized cities, especially their historic heart;

- Indispensable, also, to requalify the peripheries of metropolises.

This dialogue, EUROPAN, makes it possible to establish, in all territories, at the service of emblematic projects:

These are, for example, the new housing units that fit into the historic heart of Saintes, to allow the return of the inhabitants while preserving the heritage identity of the place.

It is also the planning and landscape project, in Saint-Brieuc, to better connect the land and the sea.

It is also, in Mulhouse, the requalification of the housing of the City Wagner to better value the architecture of the XXe century.

At the origin of each of these projects, there was EUROPAN.

At the origin of each of these projects, there was a territory, made available so that a young architect could innovate.

So yes, an alliance between elected officials and architect is possible.

For 30 years, EUROPAN has been the proof.

For 30 years, EUROPAN has shown us the way.

I want to commend the voluntarism and audacity of the elected officials who made this choice.

The choice to commit to promote architecture and heritage; to maintain public spaces; to improve our living environment.

The choice to question the certainties they could have; the choice to entrust young talents with a part of their community; the choice of innovation, of experimentation.

I want to consolidate our common commitments, for a daily architecture, for a living heritage.

This is why I would like to put on the agenda a reflection on a new form of association of elected officials to the policy of architecture and heritage.

The objective of this reflection will be, first of all, to gather the good practices of elected officials, their successes and the conditions for these successes, for a better valuation of construction projects.

The national strategy for architecture will be the framework for this field action.

This is the sense of the technical training role of local elected officials, which are endowed by the Councils of Architecture, Urban Planning and Environment.

This is also the meaning of the report on the “value of architecture”, which Marie-Christine Labourdette, President of CAPA – whom I greet – will soon be presenting to me.

The territorial component of this report will be a critical component.

We are not starting from scratch, far from it.

But now we have to scale up.

It is up to us to build this alliance between elected officials and architects!

It is up to us to sensitize the territories!

It is up to us to unite, to gather, to communicate!

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Architects, urban planners and landscape designers have always been at the forefront of the design of our cities and territories.

They have always been able to respond to the problems of their time.

Today, more than ever, France and Europe need them.

We need them to meet the major challenges of our century: the ecological, energy and climate challenge. The migration and demographic challenge. The social inclusion challenge. The digital challenge.

We need them, and elected officials.

Together, they have solutions.

EUROPAN has been catalysing these solutions for 30 years now.

I hope that he will do so for the next thirty, and the following thirty.

I hope that the projects that come out of this competition will continue to bring a more inclusive, resilient and innovative future.

 

Architects, urban planners and landscapers built Europe and its memory.

Together we will build Europe and its future.