On October 13th, exactly one month ago, Frontale made its debut at the Maison de l’Architecture en Ile de France, when the Couvent des Recollets hosted the local nominees of the prestigious Europe 40 under 40 prize. This second edition of the National Architecture Days was the opportunity to look into the 16 French architects selected to compete, whose projects from a wide range of scales gave us motive to rejoice: they reminded us how human beings can be talented at pushing back boundaries.
A talent that architects—the ones that count—devote to redefining the world for the wellbeing of mankind (and anything else living, for that matter). Because when architecture is appropriate it allows for better interaction, better working conditions, better understanding of each other … and also for a way to better avoid one another. An essential aspect of life which Georges Perec graciously resumed in Species of Spaces: “to live is to move from one space to another avoiding collisions”.
Thus avoiding collisions yet opened to contact, Frontale lived a first month close to its fellows and was able to confirm its founding intuition:
1) A new generation of French architects is skillfully manifesting its altruistic vision of the world
2) It is a generation opened to “otherness”, opened to Europe and its neighbours, some of which closer than others. A generation that has integrated the power of collaboration and that difference allows for fulfilling, constructive and audaciously innovative alliances.
And because to launch Frontale meant taking a jump—a rare occasion for surprises—we dared a plunge into Batimat, one of the world’s leading construction exhibitions hosted in France.
Our dive was rewarded with beautiful encounters, amongst which Julien Beller, an engaging architect who is very active in the social field, and Aurélie El Hassak-Marzorati, deputy director at Emmaüs Solidarité. They inaugurated the Regard sur l’architecture forum to revisit Paris’ first official refugee shelter: a project solved as a matter of urgency with limited funds yet highly creative and pertinent so as to offer worthy living standards for those who need it most. All thanks to a tight collaboration between the architect and his client, opened to working with artists, artisans and other unique participants in unconventionally innovative ways—and when you meet Julien, you will no doubt be curious to ask him how he managed to convince carpenters from all over France to each build enough wooden bedroom units and allow for timely delivery at a decent price!
To put it in a nutshell, the strength of collaborative work: our vision of the world.
It is why, on this November 13th 2017, two years ago to the day after the Paris attacks, this article is furthermore a way to fulfill our duty of collective memory and invite you to vote for the memorial that will be dedicated to the Bataclan generation.