Madam Chair, dear Marie-Christine Labourdette,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends,

It is always a pleasure to come here, to the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, in this whole place dedicated to architecture.

The Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine is a venue for debates, knowledge, documentation, conservation, archiving and teaching, and is the flagship of the architecture promotion policy for all audiences.

This place reminds us how architecture transforms the world.

It conditions our interactions, our movements, our relationship to space and to others. 

It is a great responsibility.

Both for those who give birth to it, and for those who make it live. 

Both for those whose profession it is, and for society as a whole.

For the architects, for all of us.

Yes, we need, collectively, to look at architecture better.

And to better look at architecture, it must be better valued.

This is one of the objectives of the National Days of Architecture.

I am pleased to launch their fourth edition today.

For three days, throughout the territory, our fellow citizens will be able to get an idea of the reality of the profession of architect, by visiting construction sites, urban spaces, architectural agencies. 

More than 1200 events are planned. 

I want to salute the professionals involved for the success of this new edition. Thanks to the National Council and the Regional Councils of the Order of Architects, the Councils of Architecture, Urban Planning and Environment, the Houses of Architecture, the National Higher Schools of Architecture, the Cities and Countries of Art and History. 

Thanks to our new partner: A Vivre editions. All day tomorrow, architects and builders will open the doors of the apartments and houses they imagined together.

Thank you again to the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, and to all the promoters of initiatives, who will make these Days, I am sure, a success.

Finally, thanks to the Academy of Architecture, our partner for the price of the children’s book of architecture. This initiative, along with the “Raise Your Eyes” operation, is part of an ambition to enhance architecture, educate people’s eyes and raise awareness.

We welcome the commitment and enthusiasm of these many partners. 

This enthusiasm is also shared by the authors of the “Architectural Values” report.

A big thank you to you, dear Marie-Christine, and to all those who took part with you.

Thank you to the two winners of the 2018 Young Architects and Landscape Albums: Alicia Orsini, and Matthieu Barré.

Thanks to the three qualified personalities: Christine Leconte, President of the Regional Council of the Order of Architects of the Ile de France, Simon Teyssou – President of the École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Clermont-Ferrand, and Guy Tapie – author of the recent book on French architectural culture.

And thanks to the 3 National Architectural Awards: Marc Barani, Frédéric Borel, and Jean-Marc Ibos. I know that you have devoted yourselves fully to this mission.

You have conducted 80 hearings, in Paris and in the regions, and broadened your thinking to include the proposals of the Great Debate. 

You have seen the energy and commitment of actors on the ground to promote architecture. 

You’ve also seen the challenges they face.

On the basis of this experience, you have given me a mission report of great wealth, with a view to creating the conditions for a better valuation of the profession of architect. 

Thank you for this report and these proposals, which fully correspond to the priorities of the Ministry of Culture: to raise the cultural, environmental, economic, social and territorial values of architecture.

The proposals in your report are based on the idea that the architect is a solution provider. 

A solution provider for citizens, for communities, for public or private contractors and more generally for all stakeholders in the construction chain.

The architect is in the 21st century more than ever a provider of solutions to the great challenges of our country: the wealth of our territories and the ecological transition. 

Based on the diversity of your proposals, I want to affirm what will be the main priorities of my architecture policy for the coming years. They can guide our common action to achieve them. 

To this end, I propose that you mobilize us together around four major priorities:
- To develop a better mediation of architecture for the general public;
- To boost training in architectural professions and modernize the conditions of practice of architects;
- To establish the interdepartmental anchorage of architecture, under the impulse of the Ministry of Culture, in order to allow in particular a greater effectiveness of the action of the State in the territories;
- To support architectural innovation at the service of the ecological transition.

Our first major project will be to continue popularizing architecture by learning to look.

The architectural heritage is an invaluable asset, but this wealth is not only that of ancient monuments.

They are also our workplaces, our buildings, our schools; our housing; our living places.
Architecture surrounds us at every moment. As Paul Valéry says, “we cannot escape him.”

If we cannot escape it, we must learn to watch.

Quite often, you just look up.

This is the name of the initiative we launched with the Minister of National Education and Youth.

The Friday before the European Heritage Days and the National Days of Architecture will be entirely reserved for young people.

The objective?

Educate 13 million students from kindergarten to grade 12 about architecture.

For we must educate the eyes, from the youngest age.

For kindergarten students, learning to look at architecture means first getting in touch with it through its body, through its materials, by experiencing it. It also takes the form of lotos of materials, imagers of architectural components, primers of habitat…

For primary, middle and high school students, books have been made, between my ministry and that of Education Nationale, to give them a better understanding of the living environment.

In a few minutes, I will be going with the children to the casting gallery, where construction workshops will be held throughout the day…

I want to thank the teachers and heritage stakeholders who are taking part. “Look up,” thanks to you!

This is a project that is particularly close to my heart.

And our desire to strengthen the share of architecture in arts and cultural education will be long-term.

To this end, we will establish a national bank of architecture-related resources for teachers, with all the actors in architecture.

But learning is a daily quest, and concerns all ages.

With this in mind, I hope that the Ministry of Culture can set up a national participatory portal, “France-Architecture”, which will make it possible to gather all the data relating to the architecture as it is practised today in our country and to make better known this reality, far from clichés.

It should make it possible to «deconstruct the received ideas» about architecture and architects, so well recalled in the report of the mission Values of architecture.

Our second project will aim at a better adaptation of training and the modernization of exercise conditions.

I recognize the critical importance of this issue to the future of the profession.

The Ministry of Culture is already engaged in this way through its schools of architecture and the monitoring of the practice of the profession. But I want to build on the report that was given to me to strengthen this dynamic through three measures.

First, we will constantly strive to improve the employability of young graduates in our schools, throughout life, and at the different levels of training, in view of changes in the profession.

The year 2020 will see the implementation of a major measure: that of a national scheme of training provision, research and expertise, which will highlight the collective success of the national network of national graduate schools of architecture.

I would also like to commend the commitment of the 20 national architecture colleges, which are mobilized for the implementation of the reform carried out by the Ministry of Culture, in close connection with the Ministry of Higher Education and Innovation.

In this context, the launch this fall of the second round of “Research Partnership Chairs” certification illustrates our desire to strengthen the links between training, research and economic players.

I am also attached to the link between heritage and architecture. This is why in June 2020 I will launch the first National Assembly of Schools of Architecture, dedicated to the link between architecture and heritage, in response to the growing demand for interventions on the existing building, with the support of the School of Chaillot, dear Marie-Christine.

As such, I would like to commend the creation of the “Proof by 7” chair at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture de la Villette, initiated this year by architect Patrick Bouchain, Grand Prix de l’urbanisme 2019, in partnership with the community of Hesam universities and institutions.

Secondly, we will support professional organisations in the important developments currently taking place in the sector.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the winner of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2020, which focuses on the theme “How will we live together?”

The team led by Christophe Hutin illustrates the principles of action that are part of the growing trend to value experimentation, to include the inhabitants in the co-construction of the project, to favour an architecture of frugality.

Without this exercise model being unique, it is emerging.

Whatever its forms, architecture is also an economic activity, which we must better know and support as well as all the other professional sectors linked to the Ministry of Culture.

In particular, we need to strengthen the department’s ability to understand the realities of discipline and the profession.

In order to do this, I asked the Ministry’s services to consider setting up an architecture observatory that would collect all the data relating to it, particularly those concerning the remuneration of architects, the evolution of the occupational integration of young graduates or access to architectural control.

Finally, the promotion on the European and international scene of French architecture is an important axis to assert the cultural sovereignty of our country.

Architecture is for France a vector of economic and cultural influence.

This is one of our areas of excellence.

We are implementing, with the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, an export strategy and international expertise, to which the various actors contribute: the Afex, the French Institute, the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, our schools of architecture...

In particular, it is a matter of better supporting French architects in accessing export markets in a highly competitive world but also in disseminating the know-how of French architecture internationally.

At the European level, I am also committed to spreading the spirit and cultural, geographical and historical uniqueness of the culture of a quality building, That is why France joined the ministers of culture who signed the Davos Declaration on Built Culture.

But, if success at the international level is a crucial issue for the business and a source of pride for France, I also believe that architecture can – and must – play a role at the territorial level.

Our third task will be to reinforce the interdepartmental approach to better establish architecture as a lever for cohesion and territorial attractiveness.

We will develop, in each DRAC, a territorialized strategy for architecture in support of elected officials, professionals, project leaders and citizens.

In this way, we will value territories as privileged spaces for creation and ambition in architecture.

Its implementation will be based on networking and contracting with the many competent expertise and territorial support structures.

The opportunities, already numerous, will be enriched by the animation of the network of «Friends of Architecture» territories, and through support for local initiatives that upgrade architecture, such as «Action Coeur de ville».

We will strengthen the interdepartmental dimension to support our action in the territories.

This interdepartmental dimension, which was already included in the 2015 National Strategy for Architecture, is rich in projects, which I will take the initiative to consolidate.

With this in mind, we announced, with the Minister of the Ecological and Solidarity Transition and the Minister responsible for the City and Housing, the launch of a working group to guarantee the quality of use and the architectural quality of social housing.

This reflection will focus both on the modalities of architectural control and on the exercise of social project management and project management. It should lead to a Charter of Good Practice for new construction and rehabilitation.

Pierre-René Lemas is the chair. His proposals will be communicated to us in the spring.

Finally, architecture has a key role to play in responding to major social and societal challenges through its ability to share a common space.

Local participatory projects and dialogue between architects and citizens are therefore intended to be developed.

I am thinking for example of local approaches to architectural mediation, in the spirit of residences and permanence of architects, or third places.

Our fourth project, and probably the one that requires us the most, is to make architectural innovation a tool for the ecological transition.

To achieve this objective, the architecture must engage in two ways.

On the one hand, it must contribute to the energy neutrality of buildings. Architects will be able to rely on their knowledge of materials and their ability to integrate the latest technologies into their construction projects.

Because architects, through their training and professional practice, are in the best position within the construction trades to carry out this transition towards a more sober and respectful construction of the major environmental issues of today and tomorrow.

In this regard, I congratulate the excellence of the French winning project of the international competition Solar-Decathlon Europe 2019 for students: the green house with positive energy, designed and built by students of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture et de Paysage in Lille, companions of the Tour de France in Villeneuve d'Ascq.

But on the other hand, this expertise of architects must not only apply to new constructions. Indeed, we know today that one of the essential factors in the ecological transition is the fight against the unbridled extension of the construction. On the contrary, we need to know how to reuse existing buildings to preserve the soil and the natural environment.

The Ministry of Culture encourages architects to invest in urban centres and to build on existing buildings to develop innovative forms of housing and living spaces.

Moreover, I know that the architects' councils of the State are meeting at this very moment in Strasbourg on these topical subjects stressing «the necessity of the city, resource» to build on the existing building.

All these measures, I am convinced, are likely to enhance the value of architecture.  

Ladies and gentlemen, all these projects and beyond, the many proposals in the report “Architectural Values” must be coordinated with the profession. That is why I hope that the Ministry of Culture will be able to bring architects together regularly in all the diversity of their practices and to discuss with them the priorities of this essential public policy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It has become clear that we must change our lifestyles and change the way we think about the built environment.

Architecture will help us.

I have said it before and I will say it again: architecture will help us meet the great challenges of our time.

We need her back.

And we need the architects.

We need you to requalify the existing.

To build eco-neighbourhoods, smart cities.

To bring nature to the city.

My commitment and that of the Ministry of Culture will be complete to support you in achieving these essential objectives.

I wish you very good days of architecture!