This year’s Prize highlights housing as one of the most pressing and complex issues of our time and is awarded to French architect Renée Gailhoustet. The jury highlighted her extraordinary contribution to social housing in France and her inspirational approach to building communities and urban planning.
Born in 1929, Gailhoustet dedicated her entire career to developing better social housing in Paris’ suburbs. Her approach to architecture evolved from early projects such as the Spinoza complex, to the distinctive style of her best-known works: La Maladrerie and Le Liégat. The latter has been her home and studio since the project was completed.
Her interest in Parisian suburbs was piqued in 1962, when she joined the office of French architect Roland Dubrelle and participated in the urban renewal of Ivry-sur-Siene. It was in this hugely influential project that she eventually became, together with Jean Renaudie, chief architect.
One of the instantly recognisable features of Gailhoustet’s projects are the staggered and planted terraces that allow nature to permeate domestic spaces in ways that are rarely seen in high-density housing. By using innovative geometries and mixing uses in her buildings, Gailhoustet has created a compelling argument for blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior, and, collective and individual.