Lacaton & Vassal - Free space, transformation, ‘habiter’


On view through 16 January 2022 at Museo ICO in Madrid is the first monographic show on the French firm Lacaton & Vassal ever to be mounted in Spain. Curated by the partners Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal themselves, winners of the 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the exhibition presents an oeuvre where social housing, analysis of context, and economy of means take central stage in addressing current challenges, improving people’s lives, and sustainability.

‘Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform, and reuse!’ is the mantra that sums up their practice and structures the exhibition around three concepts: free space, transformation, and habiter. These are exemplified with a selection of works.

Free space. Through construction efficiency, their works seek to maximize enjoyment of everyday life by optimizing good harnessing of environmental conditions. Barriers are eliminated to generate unobstructed interiors and connect these to the exterior.

Transformation. With an analytical look at context, the method for leveraging and improving what already exists, considering the importance of architectural reuse for sustainability.

Habiter. Principle based on the inhabited space designed from within, where it is people who decide how and where to place uses for daily life, as well as how to make the most of opportunities to create large and flexible spaces.

As part of the programming for this exhibition, visitas guiadas and actividades educativas will give visitors a chance to delve further into the figure and work of Lacaton & Vassal.

Book: Lacaton & Vassal. 1991-2021

From left to right: Luis Fernández-Galiano, Enrique Sobejano and Jean-Philippe Vassal. Photo: José Yuste

Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe Vassal 

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