Dear Principals and Principals,

Dear Teachers,

Dear Students,

I am delighted to be with you today and to see so many people here in Paris-Val-de-Seine. I did not choose this school by accident. It is emblematic of everything we want to defend. She is not the only one, of course, but I wanted to commend all the initiatives that are taking place here every day.

Thank you for welcoming us, dear Philippe Bach, in this magnificent School in the heart of the ZAC Paris Rive Gauche which reminds us how architecture has the power to change our daily lives, to enrich our living environment, to broaden our horizons! I am very honoured that Frédéric Borel, architect of this school and Grand prix national de l'architecture 2010, is among us. Thank you very much.

Faced with the great challenges of our time, architecture holds the promise of meaning. Let us remember the three virtues that Vitruvius found in it - firmitas, utilitas and venustas –, strong – rather perennial I should say – useful and beautiful. Architecture is, as you all know, the alliance, the alchemy between a functional vision of the built and a breath of beauty and harmony. It is a major lever for transforming the world.

You did not wait until 2023 to think about all these issues. The ecological transition has long called for a renewal of the practices of architecture and urban planning, it is at the heart of the teachings and work that you carry out in the network of National Schools of Architecture and at the heart of the approach of many communities and a very large number of French architects,  We are very committed to this issue in order to encourage us to transform rather than demolish, modify, adapt, intelligently conserve without necessarily always building new. And when we build new, build in a more eco-responsible way.

Whether it be the manifesto of happy and creative frugality launched by Philippe Madec, Dominique Gauzin-Müller and Alain Bornard, or the works of Lacaton & Vassal, crowned with the Pritzker Prize, and so many other architects that I could mention… These eco-responsible principles have spread throughout France and around the world. At the international level, they are now a reference and are integrated into the reflections on all the major contemporary issues, beyond even architecture. On the ministry side, they inspired us to build the call for expression of interest, carried out with the Ministry of Housing, “Committed to the quality of tomorrow’s housing”, which made it possible to support 97 winning projects at the service of better architectural quality and economic sustainability in ecological sobriety.

I also want to mention a competition that is close to my heart, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, launched in 2006 in partnership with the Cité de l'architecture and which every year, five architects who share this sustainable development ethic and propose very innovative approaches.

As you can see, you are all part of a dynamic at work for several years, you are fully committed to thinking, experimenting, reinventing sustainability in architecture.  

Each year, educational themes or end-of-study projects focus on eco-construction, rehabilitation or research on sustainability in every sense of the word! As such, I wanted to commend the excellent work done by the ENSA ECO network, which brings together teachers, researchers, students and professionals around the teaching of the ecological transition in architecture school.

When I took office, I announced two things, fairly quickly, in my priorities. On the one hand, the challenge before us is that of the energy transition, which the Ministry of Culture must face up to.  I therefore wanted us to speed up our work in this area. And on the other hand, young people, the next generation, that is, you. This new generation will tomorrow be at the helm of our architecture and culture policy in general. This pool of students that you represent, 20,000 students in the National Graduate Schools of Architecture, is considerable. 20,000 talents who are there to help us think about the world of tomorrow and help us design it in a more inclusive, sustainable, fair and eco-responsible way.

These two priorities converged naturally and came to me during the summer, the idea, the desire to value, to highlight your commitment to ecology and to value emulation between schools through the creation of a prize.

Fortunately, I did not immediately get into the announcements. I wanted to consult everyone, architects, teachers, students, students, I myself have been in schools in Paris – Belleville and Strasbourg. While also talking with your student representatives with the Union nationale des étudiants en architecture et paysage and various professionals whom I consulted – I also greet Christine Leconte, who is with us remotely, and the National Council of the Order of Architects, very involved in our thinking too – I changed my mind. I realized that a price for one person per year was not the right idea. Many of you, among the students I consulted, reminded me that there was already a little too much competition in this sector of architecture, a little too much starification and that it might be more relevant to think of a prize that would be a collective prize. And that, not to propel a single individual, but to create more emulation, encounters, exchanges, collaboration between students, between schools, therefore rather a time of encounters and exchanges. This is where Villa Medici came in. Because we had to find an absolutely idyllic place that was also a place of work and of connection to these subjects that are those of the ecological transition on which we are working. Villa Medici has established itself as the ideal place to create this emulation, this encounter.

From an individual award, we went on to a collective, a way of valuing the 20 schools, a winning project per school and a list to which I wanted to give the name RESEDA.  Why RESEDA? Because it is a flower plant at the same time modest and sustainable, refuge for bees and inspiration of the color green rehab that is often found in architecture, fairly regularly used, I think especially the dome of the Grand Palais, which is very emblematic in Paris, this famous RAL 6011 which is also of course the color of ecology.

RESEDA in acronym is also Residence éstudent for the dsustainability of thehasrchitecture.

RESEDA to blossom this idea of the most vibrant, innovative ecological transition possible with you. 

I will explain very quickly the different stages of this list:

  1. A pre-registration platform will open by the end of March so that you can submit your final project theme.
  2. Then comes the period of defense of the End of Studies Projects, all this you know, you already have in your calendar, which, according to the schools, extends until September 2023 and which will confirm the pre-registration.
  3. The jury will then meet to select 20 winning projects that will be revealed on the occasion of the National Days of Architecture in October 2023
  4. Finally, in April 2024, these 20 winners will benefit from a one-week residency in Rome, at the Villa Médicis, as part of the Festival des Cabanes! I won’t say any more, Sam Stourdzé will explain to us the reason of this festival and the meaning of a residence at that time, in relation to the issues we bear.

This prize list will therefore reward original projects of five themes, obviously not exclusive of each other, from which the jury can proceed to the selection:

  1. The new construction,
  2. The intervention on the existing,
  3. Urban development and regeneration,
  4. Revitalization of rural territories, a very important issue for us
  5. Conceptual and innovative architecture.


These are five directions wide enough for you to explore, imagine all the projects you dream of and all the innovative approaches you want to experiment with.

I wanted to acknowledge and thank our jury, some of whom are here today. I wanted to thank them for their commitment because, very quickly, they agreed to join the adventure and help us think about it before this launch day. Often the juries arrive at the end of the course to select the projects but have not participated in all the previous stages. On the contrary, this whole project was designed in consultation with each of them, so I sincerely wanted to thank them.

In this highly qualified jury are present Philippe Madec, Sam Stourdze, Dominique Gauzin-Müller, Pablo Katz, who cannot be here today, Christine Leconte, in videoconference, Nicola Delon, Alicia Orsini, Emmanuel Launiau and the Ministry of Culture which of course represented on the jury by the Directorate of Architecture.

Thank you all for your active involvement in this project. You are, in a way, the fairy-tales of the cradle of this RESEDA initiative for our students at a pivotal moment in their professional lives. As we know, this end of studies project is a decisive step between the end of your studies and your entry into working life. This is a key moment during which we want to accompany you in what is most important for us today: an eco-responsible approach to think differently about the world of tomorrow.

The Ministry of Culture will also be present to accompany you in the next steps. I assure you, this will not stop in Rome for those who will have the chance to go in 2024 and beyond for the following years!

After the RESEDA awards, why not imagine that some of you could be winners of another scheme that the Ministry of Culture is proud to support: the Albums des Jeunes Architectes et des Paysagistes (AJAP). Who knows – why not?– one day, winner of the AJAP or winner of the National Grand Prize for Architecture (GPNA) also awarded by the Ministry of Culture.

It is a continuity, a journey, and we want to be present at all these important stages. The end-of-study stage, the beginning-mid-career stage and the consecration stage!.  

I hope, in any case, that the echo of this list does not stop with the students of a given year. From promotions to promotions, I would like us to be able to build a kind of library of exemplary projects: as a repository of possibilities. I have just seen, and thank you for having shown me, a sample of this exemplary material here, where we can see all the materials of today that will also be the materials of the future, from concrete in linen to fish scales and so many others... There are innovations I did not suspect! As what, there is still an infinite field of exploration!

Whether it is a question of upgrading old and forgotten techniques or promoting this type of new materials or new processes, this price must make it possible to pool our good practices. I would like him to be at the origin of a community of sharing between students, schools and professionals, which will perhaps extend, who knows, beyond our borders since each of its schools also has very important international partnerships

Thanks again to all those who helped us to co-build this project: our lines remain open, do not hesitate to share your ideas to enrich it. This RESEDA prize must be yours, take it, share it around you, let it bloom everywhere because architecture can save the world and that’s what we expect from you, nothing less!

Thanks to you!