Arquitectura Viva
Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Mies Award 2019: 530 homes in Bordeaux (France)

For their renovation of 530 social housing units in Bordeaux, Lacaton & Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin have won the Mies van der Rohe Award, a biennial prize that comes with 60,000 euros and acknowledges quality in European architectural production.

The housing crisis of the 1960s led to the construction in the northen part of the city of Bordeaux of the Cité du Grand Parc, a large-scale urban project that addressed the growing demand for dwellings in the aftermath of World War II. Now, in the framework of a comprehensive plan for renewal, the transformation of 530 of the 4,000 living units existing in the area is a response to the problem in reverse: the gradual depopulation of the neighborhood on account of conditions of comfort rendered obsolete.

The intervention, which modifies three of the linear blocks providing social housing, refrains from interfering with the buildings’ original structural elements. The philosophy of preserving all exploitable features of the constructions in question has to do with a certain commitment to sustainability, but it also facilitates adapting an ambitious project to a limited budget. In this manner, through two simultaneous operations – extension and addition – the useful floor area of each apartment increases with a screen of usable garden balconies, which gives every home a private exterior space that faces south. The arrangement of these winter gardens has a positive bearing on the thermal performance of the enclosure of the blocks, as do the quality of the materials introduced in the process and the insulation of the rear facades. The galleries that form the new appearance of the buildings’ facades are 3.8 meters deep, broad enough
to provide additional useful and comfortable spaces in the renovated apartment units. The other works that made it to the finals were: the Auditorium and Congress Center of Plasencia (Cáceres) by Selgascano; the Terrasenhaus in Berlin by Brandlhuber+ Emde, Burlon, and Muck Petzet Architekten; Skanderbeg Square in Tiranaby 51N4E, Anri Sala, Plant en Houtgoes, and IRI; and PC Caritas in Melle (Belgium) by architecten de vylder vinck taillieu.

The jury chaired by Dorte Mandrup decided to give the Emerging Architecture 2019 Award, with its 20,000 euros endowment, to the Toulouse studio BAST for its school cafetería in Montbrun-Bocate, Haute-Garonne, near the French Pyrenees, a village school extension which closes the playground physically but not visually.

The awards will be given in a ceremony set for 7 May at the Barcelona Pavilion.
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