Foundation 23 - Re-materializing Construction

17 to a dual-skin facade that improves the insulation performance. The architects exploited the existing flat roof to add eight pent- house residential units. All the work was carried out without the residents having to vacate their apartments. And because financial performance is an essential aspect of every project, Anne Lacaton presented the key figures of her approach: a rehab cost of EUR 35 million versus an estimated cost of EUR 88 million for conventional replacement. 100% of the existing construction was retained; most areas required slight renovation only. Living area was increased by 53%. Primary energy consumption for the building operation was reduced by 60%. And since no one had to vacate their apartments, there was no loss of rental income during the construction period. Anne Lacaton is convinced that similar transformations would be beneficial in every city around the world – and this is possible if we are willing to accept what is already there and to work with it: “Every dwelling, every building, every plot can be enhanced for sustainable and qualitative densification, for the benefit of living space, uses and inhabitants.” But this requires a new way of think- ing on the part of architects and the willingness to look at each project and each case individually. Anne Lacaton is Principal of Lacaton & Vassal Architectes, based in Paris, France. Formed with Jean- Philippe Vassal in 1987, the practice is recognized for its socio-political integrity and a visionary approach to architecture. Their work on reduced-cost constructions rejuvenates dialog with authorities and shows great consideration for residents in areas undergoing rede- velopment. They designed the “bare bones” reclamation Palais de Tokyo gallery in Paris; and reshaped the Tour Bois le Prêtre 17-story housing tower with Frédéric Druot. The team cut away most of the thick façade panels, installing balconies and large sliding windows in their place for natural light and enlargement, and won the Design Museum’s Design of the Year 2013. Lacaton & Vassal received the French Grand Prix National d’Architecture in 2008. Anne Lacaton View from an apartment before and after transformation. Concepts for sustainable architecture can be derived from other industries such as agriculture. “Always try hard to do more and do better!”