The annual Ratensky Lecture was founded by the AIANY Housing Committee in honor of Samuel Ratensky (1910-1972), an architect and housing official who was responsible for major city initiatives from 1946 to 1972 and who served as a mentor to many architects. The lecture series honors individuals who, like Ratensky, have made significant contributions to the advancement of housing and community design.
This year, the AIANY Housing Committee will honor 2021 Pritzker Prize laureates Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, as well as Frédéric Druot. The architects will discuss their transformative “never demolish” approach to social housing, which instead focuses on designing from within to maximize space and prioritize the needs of residents.
Since the late 1980s, the offices of Lacaton & Vassal and Frédéric Druot Architecture have redefined the possibilities of social housing, sustainability, and community agency. Simultaneously sparing and transformative, their work adapts existing structures to meet the needs of contemporary urban communities. As Lacaton and Vassal’s Pritzker Prize biography notes, they have “vowed to never demolish what could be redeemed and instead, make sustainable what already exists, thereby extending through addition, respecting the luxury of simplicity.”
Recent projects include:
- Cité du Grand Parc, the transformation of three fully occupied modernist social housing buildings in Bordeaux, adding gardens and balconies to each unit.
- Tour Bois le Prêtre, the renovation and extension of a 1960s social housing tower, designed in collaboration with current residents.
- PLUS Paris, a study of 1,648 sites in Paris with the potential to add 135,000 new housing units without demolition or resident relocation.
This lecture is organized in partnership with the Architectural League of New York’s “Current Work” Series and with Cooper Union, and with the support of Villa Albertine, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States.
Frédéric Druot, Principal, Frederic Druot Architecture
Anne Lacaton, Principal, Lacaton & Vassal
Jean-Philippe Vassal, Principal, Lacaton & Vassal
Brian Loughlin, AIA, Co-Chair, AIANY Housing Committee; Director of Planning and Urban Design, Magnusson Architecture and Planning; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture and Real Estate Development, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
About the Speakers:
Frédéric Druot graduated in 1984 from the Ecole Nationale Superiéure d’Architecture de Bordeaux. In 1987, he founded the architectural agency Epinard Bleu, which received the Album de la Jeune Architecture in 1990. The next year, he founded his own firm, Frédéric Druot Architecture, in Paris.
Anne Lacaton graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superiéure 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.
Brian Loughlin, AIA, is Director of Planning and Urban Design at Magnusson Architecture and Planning (MAP), co-chair of the AIANY Housing Committee, APA Housing and Community Development Chair, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture and Real Estate Development at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Before joining MAP, he worked for over fifteen years in public housing.
Jean Philippe Vassal graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superiéure 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.