An Intrinsic Connection Between Atmosphere and Construction
Who influences you graphically?
I would like to say that only the project itself influences me, even if in those days, where we are confronted to an array of beautiful images everywhere, it’s a difficult path. I try to avoid being contaminated by fashions and style. I think that with today’s access to information and tools (like photoshop and an internet connection), everybody can easily reproduce an image in the style of this or this, but often the most important is left apart, and we are left with a beautiful image that does not speak about architecture. So I try to avoid that, and to solely focus on the architecture, on the atmosphere I want to give.
You mainly explore your projects three dimensionally through perspective views. How could a plan and section help in conveying other aspects of the proposal?
I’m strongly attached to the image that architecture can transmit, and therefore it’s more or less the first thing that I do : I visit the site and get seized by a range of atmospheres, and then with those in mind, I try to shape an image of what the project could be. During that process I experiment with collages to have a first glance at shape, materiality, colours, etc. Of course plans, and even more sections are really important in my works, but they come a bit later. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to draw the plans as long as I have a strong image in mind, even if that image can change in the process.
You seize to show people inhabiting your proposal, why so?
Again, I’m trying to focus on the architecture. I think that architecture, when given enough thoughts and details, can really be a storyteller by itself. An image should tell a story for sure, but architecture should be able to tell it on its own, without further addition. It also gives some more space for the viewer to get into the image and bring its own world with him.
What dictates your colour palette, does it hint to the materiality of the proposal or does try to establish a specific atmospheres?
Both. I ultimately believe that atmosphere and construction are intrinsically connected. A specific atmosphere can only be reached with an attention to the construction process, and therefore the materiality. Architecture is about atmosphere, and atmosphere is about construction, one does not go without the other.
Urban Wastelands – Ghent, Belgium
This project was part of a one-semester seminary with Christian Rapp.
For the traditionnal Master seminary, Christian Rapp proposed us to work on urban wastelands in the city of Ghent. As Ghent used to be a great industrial power during the 19th an 20th century, it is today, with the end of this economy, dotted with derelict factories and empty sites all over the city. Those in the inner center are easily refurbished, whereas some in the periphery lack any form of interest. The project will be site and programme free, and will start with a group analysis of the city over different themes : morphology, infrastructures, public and private buildings, etc. The result, a 300 pages booklet was to be in everybody’s hands, as to start with the fullest understanding of the city.
The project start with the observation that Ghent has a specific way of creating public spaces. The city’s structure grew in relation to the tortuous canals of Lys and Escaut, and the great operations of the 18th and 19th centuries had not much influence on the form of the fabric. No big avenue, but a sinuous fabric, in which a set of voids is introduced, poonctuated by objects. Those monuments don’t dominate, but rather develop a complex relation with their surrounding, a mis-en-scène of their status and their position. The whole city is dotted with these theatricalized objects, whose role is to annunce, structure and give significance to public spaces.
If the former peripheral industrial area is to be refurbished with functions identical to those of the center, then there’s a need for voids to be set up, structuring the loose and incoherent fabric, and allowing for spaces of sociabilisation. The desindustrialisation, and with it the deprivatisation of huge industrial block lead to the apparition of voids. I think it is of primary need to think about a structure of voids in the industrial area. allowing for a hierarchy of spaces to set up.
A way to give structure to those voids would be to caracterized them, with an object. Just like in the center, a theatricalized object could give structure and significance to the derelict spaces, seeking for a renaissance of the urban wastelands.
The house of the Bay _Landscape laboratory _Somme _France
For the landscape programm, the studio Dess(e)ins proposed us to work on the contemporary programme of a landscape laboratory, in the incredible region of Baie de Somme, France. The programme is complex and quite large for an area where so few is built. The landscape are indeed caracterized by emptiness and silence. All surrounded by a magical light.
The project starts from the realization that behind this breathtaking atmosphere is a great amount of work : Most of the bay is land gained on the see, and it’s a continuous struggle to protect them. With the increase of the see level, this struggle seems to be destined to a failure.
The project proposes an alternative to this perpetual struggle : the depolderisation, as some exemple in England and the Netherlands have proven successful. Letting the water enter the lands behind the dike not only gives a smooth border without risk of breaking, but allow for a new economy, in harmony with the milieu to be instaured. The economical saves made from the maintenance of the dike and other infrastuctures is to be reversed in this new economy.
A new landscape, between land and sea is to appear, in which the project will be implemented, as a landmark of the found harmony.
As it has to resist water and rude weather, the building is compact and heavy. Openings on the outsides are left to the minimum, and the building compensate with a huge patio, where the rooms take their light from. As the complex programme needed to be packed in this compact form, a interior complexity of voids is implemeted, giving to the building its qualities of light and spaces, in the image of a rock digged by wildlife.
Corsica Triptych_Reconnecting a village to its territory _Galéria, France
This project was laureate of the 2015 Project Prize, and nominated at the 2015 Van Hove Prize.
For the diploma project, the studio Dess(e)ins proposed to work, amongst other things, on the problematic of housing in the village of Galéria, North Corsica. Galéria illustrates the complex situation of a banal village in an extraordinary landscape. A banal village, whose fabric seems weak and incoherent, more so since the recent waves of urbanization. The transposition of the occidental four-sides villa in such territory have made unfixable damages, from level works and road constructions to the inevitable weakening of the social link.
As an alternative to this urbanization, the project seeks to understand and work with the structure of the territory as well as the social needs of both the inhabitants and the tourists. The analysis highlights a major piece of territory in the village, some derelict kitchen garden, enclosed by private construction and endangered by speculation. The gardens are structured along a small stream, and runs from the center of the village to the beach.
The project is firstly an infrastructure. By building the edge of the gardens, it brings water evenly from top to bottom. From this intervention, the gardens can revive as a collective piece for the village. As the underground infrastructure alternates aqueducts and cistern, the ground floor receives a set of paths and plazza, connecting the center to the beach. Along this infrastructure, housing units can be set, units that will be connected to the territory.