We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winner for our “Tiny Kiwi Meditation Cabin” competition – Gabriel Foulquier-Gazagnes from France!

Gabriel Foulquier-Gazagnes from France

I graduated from the «Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris-Malaquais» (ENSAPM) – which used to be the Fine Arts School of Paris – In 2015. I received my diploma from the Parsons School of Design and Architecture in New York City, and in Malaquais. I received honors and congratulations from the jury and won the first prize with special mention «cogedim» from «Arc-en-rêve», the Bordeaux architecture exhibition.

After my diploma, I worked for 2 years in the Manuelle Gautrand agency, a world-renowned architectural firm based in Paris. This first professional experience was decisive for me, the architecture that Manuelle Gautrand proposes being particularly sensitive and thoughtful. It was a real pleasure to work alongside her on magnificent projects, such as museums, housing, and installations.

Then, I started to work for Brenac & Gonzalez & Associés, a big Parisian architecture agency – where I still work – which gave me a very professional approach to architectural projects by giving me a real independence in the project’s creation.

I have been a project manager in this agency for 4 years now, and even though I love working in this great company – which became almost a second family – I am thinking more and more about creating my own architecture firm.

Brenac & Gonzalez & Associés gave me the opportunity to lead two housing projects with wood structures; this experience was very important for me, and I’m thinking about specializing in wooden architecture.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Manuelle Gautrand Architecture 

I worked on several project of different scales in the Manuelle Gautrand agency, such as:

The Fine Arts Museum competition in Bayonne, 6000 m2;
The Galeries Lafayette mall in Annecy, 20 000 m2;
A housing block (wood structure) of 25 flats in Paris called «Edison Lite», 2000 m2.

Brenac & Gonzalez & Associés

I worked on:
A restaurant in wooden structure in Toulouse, 1950 m2;
A housing block (wood structure) in Issy-les-Moulineaux, 10 350 m2.

In my name

A private residence in Aubrac, next to Nasbinal (on a beautiful plateau in the center of France), made of 200 m2 in wooden structure with the ancient Japanese technique of «Shou Sugi Ban», which consists of superficially burning the wooden pillars and beams.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

In my opinion, architecture is about light, context, and ambiance.
Ambiance is maybe the most important notion in creating architecture, because it can include several notions, which cannot be explained by words, but must be felt; creating an ambiance by playing with materials, volumes, and light forces the architect to be humble and delicate. A forest, a city, a suburb – each contain its own poetry, its own magic. The architect must feel and integrate it.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions? 

Participating in a competition allows me to question myself again and again, and to not forget that architecture cannot have the same answer everywhere to the same questions. It allows me to re-think my positions, to connect with different contexts and learn about them. Architectural competitions are a way to keep learning about our world, and about architecture.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

I could repeat what I just wrote and add that architecture competitions give you the opportunity to express yourself totally, and never lose faith in your practice, in your ideas, and in your imagination.

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