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Reinvent: Enchanting the Existing (Anne Lacaton)
Core Series
Monday, March 25, 2013 6:30pm
Wood Auditorium

Reinvent: Enchanting the Existing

Anne Lacaton, Lacaton & Vassal

Built in 1961 by Raymond Lopez in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, the 16-story prefabricated concrete public housing project La Tour Bois-le-Prêtre had fallen into disrepair when Paris Habitat organized a competition to upgrade the building in 2005. Rather than demolish the tower, how could it be reinvented, without extending its footprint or displacing residents for long periods of time? In what Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times called a “case study in architectural ingenuity and civic rejuvenation,” the winning design by Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe Vassal, associated with Frédéric Druot, erected prefabricated modules around the exterior of the building, enchanting units with winter gardens and balconies that provide newfound light and room to move. “[O]ur priority,” stated Lacaton in the same article, “was improving the living conditions for everyone.”

Interior photos by Philippe Ruault. Event photos by Tina Gao, Columbia University GSAPP.