We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of the 1st prize of our “Adelaide Creative Community Hub” competition - Lucas Monnereau and Thomas Leblond from France!
Lucas Monnereau and Thomas Leblond from France
We are both architecture students in Paris, France. Lucas studies at the National School of Paris Belleville and Thomas at the National School of Paris Val-de-seine. We met a while ago in middle school and our common passion for architecture has been a strong bond. Having both done internships in French studios to perfect our knowledge of the architectural profession, it seemed obvious to us that confronting ourselves to the challenge of architectural competitions was a good way to develop our knowledge and increase our experience in architectural conception - all the while stimulating our creativity. The Buildner platform was exciting because of its international dimension and the community hub is a rather new and contemporary way of approaching work. It spoke to us and to issues we were interested to tackle, so we decided to do it as our first joint competition.
Lucas did his 3rd year internship at the King Kong workshop, a French studio working on several cultural facilities all over France, and specifically on the requalification of Paris in the frame of the city-wide project of "Le Grand Paris". He has just returned from a year abroad in San Francisco where he got to practice his English while doing an architectural trip through the states of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.
Thomas studied at Paris Val de Seine as well as at the National Technical University of Athens in Greece. He recently graduated with a distinction from his Parisian school in June 2017 and started interning at the French-Brazilian studio Triptyque. The place of the user is essential to the work we try to shape together. It might seem an obvious statement but we've witnessed that it's easy to get lost in other concerns and priorities when focusing on buildings. We attempt to give back to the users - people - the place they deserve in the developing process of a building.
What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?
The first challenge that lies already in your question is that architects must first try to understand the society they're part of. And one of the key elements to do that seems to be great curiosity. Being and staying curious is, from our perspective, one of the main qualities of a good architect. We must have a real interest in the world that surrounds us in order to be able to respond to the problems it faces and therefore propose relevant architectural projects. This surely goes hand- in- hand with defining the new challenges of tomorrow's architecture. We're facing many new constraints that should call for new architecture and new ways to produce it. It seems important to us, even as students, to already start questioning and approaching these new challenges. Finally, as architecture is made to accommodate a program for users, we want to stay away from making projects for other architects to see, and stay as close as possible to the concerns of the people who will use the building and experiment the cities.
Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?
As young architecture students, taking part in an international competition like this is rich on so many levels. It allows us to raise new questions about very current themes, but it is also an opportunity to see how students and architects from all over the world would look at the same given situation. It's a good way for us to see and understand what the other proposals are and also a good way to evaluate ourselves. In that sense, being confronted by a jury anonymously is also a chance to get a different kind of critical feedback than the one we might be used to.
What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?
The advice we could only humbly give to other young architects is that participating in architecture competitions is an excellent opportunity to work in groups on themes or in ways that might not be familiar to you. Our experience reinforced in us the idea that collaborating with people who have a different vision of architecture, or different influences, is a rich way to develop strong and hybrid projects while constantly proposal together - therefore making it even more complex and relevant.
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