Dear Guy AMSELLEM, President of the Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine
Dear Michel DALLONI, President of the Jury and Director of the Moniteur Editorial Department,
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Master Builders,
Ladies and gentlemen the winners,
Dear friends architects,
It is a pleasure for me to present for the first time these prestigious Prix du Moniteur which, since 1960, to excellence and vitality of architectural creation in France.
I would like to salute Michel Dalloni and his teams, and through them the Groupe Moniteur, for his constant commitment to promoting and promoting architecture. It brings us together this year around a new format, more collected and which offers for the first time Internet users the possibility to vote online for the Equerre of their choice.
Again this year, the selection is breathtaking. One can only be enthused by so much wealth, so much audacity; by this ability of the architect to invent the habitat, the city and the landscape of tomorrow. A journalist recently asked me, "What would a world be without an architect?" Well, I can say it here without hesitation: it would be a world without imagination, without intention, without ambition! At a time when some are tempted by sinistrosis and decline, I can only rejoice to see here so many great names of architecture and promising talents, whose architectural gesture participates in the spirit of conquest that our country so badly needs.
Before greeting the winners, I would like to recall the Government’s architecture projects.
The architecture is at the crossroads of the three main priorities that I want to give to my action at the head of the Ministry of Culture and Communication:
- because through it, our fellow citizens are in immediate, daily contact with creation, it can play a role in how we must rethink access to culture – this is my first priority – I am thinking particularly of the youngest;
- because it embodies the excellence and vitality of creation in France, like the remarkable achievements distinguished this evening, it is a instrument of our country’s influence – which is my second priority;
- because finally, as we see with the remarkable projects of the «first work» category, it contributes strongly to the creative renewal – which is my third priority – by the quality of the training and the talent of young architects
The selected projects demonstrate this: French architecture, by its requirement and innovation, is at the rendezvous of all these ambitions. But I am aware that behind the great successes and the emblematic buildings, there is a reality of architecture that is less satisfactory : too many urban and real estate projects are carried out without the use of an architect, to the detriment of quality, not only aesthetics, but also the sustainability of buildings; and the profession of architect is too often nowadays synonymous with precariousness.
It was in response to this contradiction that I decided to launch a National Architecture Strategy. I announced this at the Summer Universities of the National Council of the Order of Architects: report by Patrick Bloche, which is an extremely valuable tool for diagnosis, consultation and proposal, I want to implement an ambitious and comprehensive action plan for architecture and architects in France.
This strategy will have a guiding thread: the added value of architecture.
While the architect is too often considered a constraint, an additional cost, or even a luxury, which we could or should do without; I want to show, in contrast to these a priori dated, the importance and utility of the architect.
Some would like the use of the architect to become more often obligatory; without doubt, but what I want above all is that the architect becomes indispensable. Architecture cannot remain, as Rudy Ricciotti put it, “a combat sport”; it must be obvious.
From the 1ster December and throughout the first quarter of 2015, three working groups, to which will be associated professionals, developers, industrialists, elected officials and representatives of civil society, will meet to propose very concrete measures to serve three objectives:
- raise awareness, first of all, because we have to create a desire for architecture among our fellow citizens and develop a real culture of architecture. This involves raising awareness among the general public and working on the ground, particularly with local elected officials.
We know the importance of local elected officials in construction management, and I want to remind you that the Silver Equerre is an award that rightly rewards not only an architect but also its sponsor. Because we know that one does not go without the other.
- develop, secondly, because the use of the architect too often remains the exception when our society fundamentally needs the architects. It is, as I said, about value this know-how; with the project owners, with the developers; to also expand the scope of intervention of the architects and to encourage the influence and export of our architecture.
- break new ground, finally, because it is through this that the ability of architecture to respond to the challenges of the contemporary world passes. It is therefore essential to encourage architectural creativity and support the creative renewal of the sector. As such, support for architectural schools and the lifelong training of architects must be at the heart of our concerns.
This last point is for me an opportunity to Salute the City of Architecture and Heritage, which welcomes us today. Under the leadership of Guy Amsellem, the City gave a central place to young architects and architecture students. La Cité is an essential link in the Albums des jeunes architectes et paysagistes program, which aims to make it easier for young teams to take control. I also note that among the 20 nominees tonight, 5 were AJAP, which shows if the dynamism of this device is needed.
The City is also an active partner of architecture schools: it welcomes each year their new students, stimulates their creativity by the competitions it organizes, nourishes their pedagogies, by singular and innovative projects, as the digital collaborative encyclopedia of architecture or the new teaching of «Architecture Mediation», created this year in partnership with the ENSA of Paris-La Villette.
I now want to turn to the winners and everyone who has been selected.
Firstly, I am pleased to see that many of the projects selected are dedicated to culture : museums and foundations, libraries and media centres, artist residences, conservatory, space devoted to heritage and archaeology. It is a great source of pride to see the ambition of the builders, the communities and the elected representatives who have made the bet of culture. A bet that, thanks to the remarkable achievements of the architects, is more than successful!
I would also like to commend all the projects selected in the first work category. It is for you, the young creation, that we build this national strategy for architecture.
Congratulations to all the winners: in my opinion, you are the obvious!