Current Work | Anne Lacaton, Jean-Phillippe Vassal, and Frédéric Druot

Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 7 - 9pm

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Frédéric Druot and Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal | Tour Bois le Prêtre, Paris, France, 2010. Image credit: Philippe Ruault

Frédéric Druot and Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal | Tour Bois le Prêtre, Paris, France, 2010. Image credit: Philippe Ruault

This event will be conducted in-person and through Zoom. All participants— both in-person and online— must register in advance, please register here

This fall and early winter, Current Work spotlights influential and innovative design practices that bring widely varying perspectives to contemporary housing challenges. 

Over decades, the architects Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe Vassal have collaborated on design and research projects with their long-time friend Frédéric Druot. Together, they have redefined the possibilities of social housing, sustainability, and community agency.

Lacaton, Vassal, and Druot have partnered on several landmark housing projects, guided by the commitment: “never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform, and reuse!” Simultaneously sparing and transformative, their work adapts existing structures to meet the needs of contemporary urban communities.

The architects’ collaborations include:

  • Cité du Grand Parc, the 2017 transformation of three fully occupied modernist social housing buildings in Bordeaux, adding gardens and balconies to each unit.

  • Tour Bois le Prêtre, the 2010 renovation and extension of a 1960s social housing tower, designed in collaboration with current residents.

  • PLUS Paris, a 2004 study of 1,648 sites in Paris with the potential to add 135,000 new housing units without demolition or resident relocation. 

Lacaton & Vassal has received numerous honors and recognitions since its founding in 1989, including the Pritzker Prize, the EU Mies van der Rohe Award, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and France’s Grand Prix National d’Architecture.

Anne Lacaton graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bordeaux in 1980 and received a diploma in urban planning from the University of Bordeaux in 1984. She is a professor of architecture and design at ETH Zurich and has taught at EPFL Lausanne, Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Delft University of Technology, Polytechnic University of Madrid, and University at Buffalo.

Jean Philippe Vassal graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bordeaux in 1980 and worked as an urban planner in Niger from 1980 to 1985. He is an associate professor at Universität der Künste Berlin and has taught at Technische Universität Berlin, Hochschule Düsseldorf, EPFL Lausanne, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, and École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bordeaux.

Frédéric Druot graduated in 1984 from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bordeaux. In 1987, he founded the architectural agency Épinard Bleu, which received the Album de la Jeune Architecture in 1990. The next year, he founded his own firm, Frédéric Druot Architecture, in Paris.

This lecture is the 2021 annual Ratensky Lecture, organized by the AIANY Housing Committee to honor individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions to the advancement of housing and community design. The annual Ratensky Lecture was initiated by the AIANY Housing Committee in honor of Samuel Ratensky (1910-1972), an architect and NYC housing official who was responsible for major housing initiatives in the city from 1946 to 1972, and who served as a mentor to many architects who worked in his programs. This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by The Architectural League of New York and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. 

This lecture is free and accessible to the public. In-person lecture attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and wear a facial covering indoors. 

View the full Fall 2021 Lectures and Events List.

Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.