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12 Sep 2017

Manuelle Gautrand wins 2017 European Prize for Architecture
BY Kim Megson

Gautrand was praised for “developing a public and civic architecture that opens up the realm of possibilities for unique space

Gautrand was praised for “developing a public and civic architecture that opens up the realm of possibilities for unique space
photo: Courtesy of Manuelle Gautrand Architecture

French architect Manuelle Gautrand has been awarded the 2017 European Prize for Architecture, becoming the first woman to receive the prestigious accolade.

The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture – which jointly present the prize – praised Gautrand and her eponymous practice “for making special places and distinct spaces that celebrate ordinary life in our complex urban cities and our diverse cultural situations.”

She was also praised for “developing a public and civic architecture that opens up the realm of possibilities for unique space.”

Gautrand worked for six year in different architecture studios in Paris and founded her office in 1991 – first in Lyons and then in Paris since 1994. Among her firm’s broad portfolio are diverse leisure facilities, including theatres, museums, cultural centres and sports facilities.

In 2011, she converted the Gaîté-Lyrique Theatre into a centre for modern music and digital arts, and last year she completed the restoration of the historic Gaumont-Alésia cinema in Paris into a cultural hub with an eye catching ‘pixelated’ LED facade. Other projects include the copper-clad Forum sports complex in Alsace, the striking Hipark Hotel in Paris and an extension of the Lille Museum of Modern Art, while she is currently working on a civic and cultural centre in Parramatta, Australia.

“Manuelle Gautrand has worked diligently to ‘re-enchant the city’ by reinventing, renewing, and innovating a pluralistic design path full of unexpected answers, risk-taking, surprises, and architectonic expectations that are bold, refreshing, and equally provocative,” said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, president of The Chicago Athenaeum.

“Her firm understands that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces in the city and in the city’s diverse environments.

“For these reasons, exemplified in all the firm’s built work, and for the firm’s ability to express the local, but also the universal, uniting us with one another through the art of architecture, Manuel Gautrand Architecture is awarded the 2017 European Prize for Architecture.”

The accolade was established in 2010 “to forward the principles of European humanism and the art of architecture.” Previous Laureates include Bjarke Ingels, Graft Architects, Alessandro Mendini and Santiago Calatrava.





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