Against the backdrop of confinement, the 38th Équerre d'Argent ceremony was held on Monday November 23 in a new format, digitalized 100%. The opportunity for the jury to unveil the name of Charles-Henri Tachon's successor in what remains as the most popular architecture prize.
For a long time, the question of maintaining the 2020 edition was on the table. It is indeed difficult to imagine being able to hold the traditional ceremony in the presence of the usual audience of architects.
However, faced with record number of participations, more than 250, the organization of the prize managed by Le Moniteur du BTP et de la Construction and the magazine AMC decided to take up the challenge: " how to ignore the many files received? » questions at the opening of the digital ceremony Fabien Renou, editor-in-chief of the online information site lemoniteur.fr.
The bet is then: to bring to life in digital this great rout of the profession which each year offers an exceptional line-up of speakers and prestigious guests. As a reminder, the 2019 edition, organized at the Institut du Monde Arabe, was an opportunity to hear Paul Chemetov and Jack Lang.
The appointment is then made: the ceremony of 38th Price of the Equerre d'Argent is fixed for November 23, 2020 in a new formula.
© Equerre d'argent 2020, the complete prize list
A 38th Équerre d'Argent which celebrates the built heritage of the pink city
If the price organized by the editors of Le Moniteur and from AMC each year distinguishes 5 winners in 5 different categories, it is indeed that of the Equerre d'argent that attracts the greatest attention. Winning it means joining a list of illustrious names such as Jean Nouvel, Christian de Portzamparc, Valode & Pistre, Zaha Hadid or even Herzog & de Meuron.
While this has long been largely occupied by male architects (a dozen winners out of more than 60 award-winning architects), it is enriched by the presence, not of one, but of two women: Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara.
University of Toulouse 1 Capitole, Architect: Grafton Architects/ Vigneu & Zilio Architects – © Frédérique Félix-Faure
The two founders of the Irish agency Grafton Architects, and the Toulouse office Vigneu Zilio, who signed the Toulouse School of Economics in Toulouse were praised by the jury for “ a realization that sets an interior climate and brings breath, which embodies a spatial virtuosity that is never gratuitous. A "celestial grotto", a "cloister in the sky", in which the air circulates. The building fits in with great intelligence on this complex site. While asserting himself, he knows how to show great sensitivity to the local situation. »
For Grafton Architects, this new distinction comes on top of an already crowned year of success in 2020: on March 3, the Pritzker Prize jury, often considered the Nobel Prize for architecture, rewarded their " ability to be cosmopolitan while respecting the uniqueness of each place in which they work. »
"First work", "Habitat", "culture, youth and sport", "public and landscaped spaces" and "places of activity": the complete list
Category First Work
A category that rewards the work of an architect under the age of 35 at the time of delivery, the First Work Prize is a good indicator of the big names in the making. This year, it is the agency the Ourcq workshop » which won the distinction for the construction of 6 participatory housing in Romainville, in Seine-Saint-Denis. An approach which, according to the Jury, "embraces a series of scales and questions on the suburbs, the landscape, the architecture, the geography, the social and the densification", "a relevant programmatic approach", "a fair result and generous, simple but not poor”.
Architect : Ourcq workshop – © CLEMENT GUILLAUME
In the habitat category, it is the Belgian agency Bruther/Baukunst who succeeds Sophie Delhay, 2019 winner, by delivering a student residence with 192 social housing units and reversible parking in Palaiseau (Essonne) in which the juries found a " rigorous and sensitive work, of total coherence, without any artifice ".
Student residence with 192 social housing units and reversible parking in Palaiseau (Essonne), Bruther/Baukunst – © MAXIME DELVAUX FOR BRUTHER
Category Culture, Youth and Sport
The "culture, youth and sport" prize is awarded to the Théâtre du Maillon in Strasbourg, designed by the agency LAN. A building " neutral, without orientation in its facades and which affirms its transparency in relation to the city, symbol of an ambitious and cultural future ".
Category Public and Landscaped Spaces
At last, Michel Desvigne Landscaper and Inessa Hansch Architect leave with the “public and landscaped spaces” distinction thanks to the requalification of the Southampton wharf in Le Havre. A realization in which the jury found " a powerful position taken in relation to the dimension of the landscape, without any anecdotal arrangement ".
Requalification of the Southampton wharf in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), Michel Desvigne Landscaper/IHA – © KAROLINA SAMBORSKA
Category Places of Activities
In the "Activities" category, it is the team made up of architects from the Nantes agency Fouquet Architecture Urbanism and the LIN agency who are rewarded for the creation of a digital culture center in Nantes, in a former industrial hall, for " a generous and unfussy result according to the jury.
Digital culture center in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), LIN architect urbanist/F.au – © David Boureau