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“HAVING A SHARED CULTURE OF THE PROJECT EMERGE”
Jordi Pimas Megias and Marina Ramirez (born in 1984) graduated from the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB). Jean Rehault (born in 1983) graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture of Paris-La Villette. They founded their office in 2011.
They are pragmatic and don’t like waste, too aware of the urgency of proposing new solutions to overcome the problems of a society in crisis. It was during their studies and exchanges abroad that this Franco-Spanish team – Jordi Pimas Megias, Marina Ramirez, Jean Rehault and Romain Gié – decided to create a structure by pooling its experiences in architecture offices in different countries. These architects believe that the necessity of reducing climate impact is inseparable from finding the means to fight against the ravages of mass production on life-styles and landscapes. Far from hindering architectural innovation, technical performance and ecological rigor must, on the contrary, be understood as supports for a renewed quality of use. Considering it important to reflect on the lifecycle, they pay a great deal of attention to where materials come from and production conditions. Including themselves in what they call a shared culture, they endeavor to reconcile the contradictory aspects of the local and the global and to insert a bit of utopia into them. If, until now, their experience has led them to work primarily in the rural milieu, these are issues that they deem equally valuable in the city. Focusing on contextual analysis, they have always immersed themselves in a site in order to decipher its specificities and traditions. In this respect, knowledge of the regional know-how and resources that can be mobilized is an indispensable condition for ensuring quality, technical feasibility and resource optimization. Attentive to the requirement of clients, craftsmen and users, they take on the role of architect as teacher and place great importance on everyone being a part of the project. Developing nonstandard techniques, they don’t hesitate either to reinterpret tried and true old methods in an effort to integrate the landscape. This also means being able to grasp the spatial and functional virtues of the vernacular to promote a renewed domestic quality of life. Succeeding in making everyday buildings that look like they have always been there, working toward creating a movement, that of a life in tune with itself, clearly seems to be the team’s first priority and ambition. A wink at George Orwell’s 1984, their name rings like a reminder: the time of the anticipation of a world on the road to ruin is largely past and it is now that we must act.
A 192 boulevard Voltaire
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Designed in the framework of the Archi<20 festival, the “nest” was inspired by vernacular farm buildings. Far from generating an archaic living environment, this reference is the support for technical innovations on comfort, ambiance and energy efficiency. The bearing straw compressed between two ribbon strips offers a continuous, coherent and very insulating envelope. Inside, the multiply wood presents a finished surface. The light raw wood framework recalls the gantry system of traditional barns; a regular grid detaches the volume from the ground and supports the ceiling and flooring. The contrast between the mass of the straw-enclosed volume and the lightness of the structure that supports it produces a harmonious and poetic effect. With large glazed expanses to the south, heavily insulated and with a large storage capacity for solar calories, the building needs very little thermal input. If it appears massive, most of its materiality is renewable. The structure can be dismounted and perhaps rebuilt elsewhere with local and inexpensive materials.
SQUARE BAYARDThis skateboard project was created in a French-style garden. Inserted into one of the lawn areas covering 500 m2, it has simple and stripped-down forms that respect the site’s identity. The rigor of the typology of this type of garden was also preserved: no excavations or embankments alter the flatness of the land. This position led to minimizing the area occupied by the facility. None of the trees was cut down and only 40% of the plot’s surface is occupied, leaving the rest of the lawn intact. This desire to seal the site as little as possible enabled rest and contemplation areas to be laid out as much for the skater as for strollers, and to assert the square’s intergenerational character. The sculptural project is structured by two smooth and quartz-incrusted concrete strips that unroll and fold, creating the space for skateboarding. The different modules are consequently incorporated into these two slabs that look like they were just set down on the existing lawn.
CREATION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD OF DENSE INDIVIDUAL HOUSES IN PREUSCHDORF
Proposing a new form of living in the rural milieu, this new neighborhood slips into a narrow constructible strip, between a street and a slag heap. The connection of the two typologies with homogeneous dimensions forms a continuity of adjoining façades creating a visual permeability with the surroundings. The siting of five 200 m2 units is dense but anticipates the strong extension potential in the future. The search for a harmonious and progressive relationship between the public and private parts led to the creation of a covered shared collective space. This arrangement allows for a large diversity of uses and incorporates a vertical circulation that anticipates a possible separation of the buildings by level. The volumes can consequently accommodate a great variety of typologies and functions. The ecological management of surplus rainwater with planted ditches moreover favors biodiversity. Gentle paths serve the private gardens, provide access to the shared garden and lead to a promenade that enhances the slag heap.