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Michel Andrault, 1926-2020

François Chaslin 
30/06/2020


The French architect Michele Andrault passed on 5 April in Montrouge, just five months after Pierre Parat, with whom he formed a duo in 1957 that would be highly successful in the period 1960-1980. Together they carried out numerous projects, including 19,000 dwellings, the Ensemble Universitaire Tolbiac in Paris, the Havas headquarters in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the AGF offices in Madrid, the Totem Tower facing the Seine, plus sports centers and skyscrapers.

Born into a family of modest means in 1926, and marked early on by a case of tuberculosis that he was able to recover from, Andrault was a very good organizer, but also a sensitive person molded by trips made around the world during his youth – which took him to Cappadocia and Sudan, not to mention Italy – and a great lover of sculpture, evident in his buildings. He was also passionate about primitive art, and lived surrounded by objects he collected.

Andrault’s aesthetic could sometimes be very delicate; take the case of his school in Orleans. But he is most connected to constructions with glazed volumes and well executed facades, and here we sense the influence of Kenzo Tange and Paul Rudolph, as much in the brutalist expressivity of the buildings as in the legible rendering of elemental geometric figures.


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