Foundation 23 - Re-materializing Construction

14 Keynote speech It’s in human nature to reject whatever limits our creativity and productivity. Architects are no exception in this regard, assured Anne Lacaton at the opening of her keynote speech. She called for acceptance of existing conditions: “ Make do is about making better use of what we already have. It is about considering the existing as a resource and as a value – and not about always seeing it as definitely unsatisfactory and too constraining.” Every obstacle can be transformed into something positive. “Existing situations are the new materials for our projects.” One of the first things architects should do in any project is to make do with nature. Instead of first demolishing and clearing the site in order to start from a clean slate, questions should be asked: How can I add something to what this place offers? How can I integrate the elements? How can I expand the scale? As an example, the architect presented a project in south-west France that she built with her partner Jean-Philippe Vassal 20 years ago: Make do! When old apartment buildings are to be modernized, they are usually torn down and replaced. Shaping the world sustainably is a herculean task. For the French architect Anne Lacaton, however, it doesn’t mean destroying everything old in order to create something new: It makes much more sense to use what exists as a basis for transforma- tion into something better. “Make do requires us to truly see the resources that are already there.” Residential buildings like these can be found in suburbs around the world.